Safety Signs and Labels

Trends in ... safety signs and labels

Safety signs and labels play an important role in the workplace. “With over 4,000 worker fatalities and countless injuries occurring every year, [having] effective safety signs and labels is critical in every work environment,” said Mauriah Lamia, content and social media manager for Brooksville, FL-based Accuform.

Here, industry insiders expand on what’s new to the market and what’s critical to keep in mind.


Tom Smith, regional product manager for Milwaukee-based Brady Corp., spoke of the latest advancements in onsite industrial printers. “Some of the latest printer technologies for attention-grabbing, customized signs and labels include multicolor thermal transfer printing, full-color inkjet printing, and letter- and shape-cutting functionality,” Smith said. He also spoke of new software developments. “Label creation software has also been enhanced to streamline the creation of signs and labels – moving from CDs and flash drives to online platforms with push notifications for the latest updates, and packaged bundles that align with your print application needs.”

Good to know

Compression is critical. That’s what Michelle Graveen, workplace safety editor for Neenah, WI-headquartered J. J. Keller & Associates Inc., wants you to keep in mind. “If employees do not understand the intent of a sign or label, then it is a failure,” Graveen said. “Successful safety signs and labels provide information, warnings and directions in a clear and concise method.”

She added that employee education is a must so workers will know what to do as soon as they see a particular symbol or read specific text.

Graveen also pointed out that when it comes to safety signs and labels, more isn’t always necessarily better. “If too few safety signs are posted, employees are not informed or reminded of important information,” she said. “When too many safety signs are posted in a single area, employees tend to stop paying attention to them or do not notice when a sign is new or changed.”

Jason Hodulik, chief marketing officer for Garfield, NJ-based, said custom safety signs may be a better choice than generic signs. “While many hazards are common, generic safety messages may not be completely applicable to the equipment, materials or workflows of your facility,” Hodulik said.

“For example, the storage of chemicals requires identification and markings specific to those chemicals. In instances like this, custom safety signs and labels are an ideal solution, and online design tools make it easy to create custom safety identification for your unique requirements.”

Avoid misuse

If your company uses label printers or label creation software, Smith cautions that misusing these items can result in having noncompliant signs and labels in your workplace. “Some examples of this include blacking out the wrong diamonds for [Globally Harmonized System] labels or using lower case text on OSHA signs, when the standard requires all caps.”

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