Product Focus: Safety Signs and labels

Trends in ... safety signs and labels

Getting it right

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With safety signs and labels, clarity is key. “It is important that workers don’t find themselves struggling to understand the messages on safety signs and safety labels,” said Jason Hodulik, chief marketing officer for Garfield, NJ-based SafetySign.com. “Even the smallest hurdle in understanding can prevent one from being alerted to potential hazards in a timely fashion.”

Here, industry insiders offer their thoughts on the benefits of new technology, and what should be avoided.

These days, employers don’t have to wait for a shipment of safety signs or labels to arrive – they can make their own. “Today there are technologies that enable organizations to print their own durable full-color safety labels on demand using standard desktop printers,” said Colwin Chan, group product manager, Avery Safety & Facilities Solutions, for Brea, CA-based Avery Products Corp. Examples of these technologies, Chan said, include high-performance film labels with special topcoats for inkjet or laser printers and self-laminating features.

The environment is benefiting from new technologies, too. “Advances in production equipment and manufacturing processes used for creating safety signs and labels are considerably more environmentally friendly and less resource-intensive to produce – even compared to just a few years ago,” said Brad Montgomery, marketing and communications director for Brooksville, FL-headquartered Accuform.

Issues to avoid

The placement and use of safety signs and labels may seem straightforward, but employers should be mindful of certain situations. For example, more is not always better. “An abundance of small ‘Danger’ signs posted around a workplace can be more distracting than helpful,” Hodulik said. “When choosing your sign size, consider how far away your message needs to be seen rather than aesthetics.”

Regarding labels, make sure you understand the correct type of material needed. “Each label material is engineered to withstand specific environments and conditions, such as hot or cold temperatures, outdoor application, chemical exposure, and more,” said Tom Smith, product marketing manager for Milwaukee-based Brady Corp. “Choosing the right label and sign material helps you save time and money by not having to replace your facility identification.”

Another piece of advice? Don’t let cost cloud your decisions. “All too often decisions are made based solely on price, which ultimately ends up costing more long-term,” Montgomery said.

Know the value

Don’t underestimate the importance of safety signs and labels. “When you consider that people gain about 75 percent of their knowledge from visuals, it’s clear why you need effective workplace signs and labels,” Smith said. “This identification should include colors, visuals and clear messaging in order to simplify learning, enhance training, and make your workplace more efficient and safe.”

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

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