2021 Safety signs and labels

Trends in ... safety signs and labels

‘Communicate critical hygiene and safety protocol’

Signs and labels are one of the quickest ways to convey safety messages to workers and visitors. Safety+Health spoke with Colwin Chan, group product manager for Avery Industrial, to find out what’s new in the area of safety signs, what customers are looking for when it comes to labels and what’s on the horizon.

Safety+Health: What are some recent innovations in safety signs and labels?

Chan: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to communicate critical hygiene and safety protocol with innovative signage such as floor and wall signs that not only are customizable and removable, but also can be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

For practical purposes, this type of signage must also work on a variety of surfaces, including glass, tile, wood and painted walls. Recent developments in adhesive signage have centered on durable materials that are chemical-resistant, hold up to wear and tear, and are surface-friendly – meaning they can adhere securely and remove cleanly for time frames between six months to three years.

S+H: What do you wish employers and workers better understood about using signs and labels in the workplace?

Chan: Keeping workers safe is an obligation under OSHA regulations, and having a visual communication plan – which includes the use of safety signs and labels – is key. It is very important for workers to be aware of the types of hazards that exist in the workplace. This can include communicating everything from social distancing guidelines during a pandemic and warning signs for hazards such as slips and falls to the use of Globally Harmonized System labels to communicate the risks related to workplace chemicals and cleaners.

S+H: What concerns or questions are customers bringing to you about safety signs and labels?

Chan: Some of the questions around safety signs and labels are related to what types of sign or label materials to use and what information should go on these labels and signs.

In terms of materials for safety labels, wear and tear is a key issue, so we recommend going with a durable label material such as a polyester film label instead of a standard paper label. In terms of what goes on a safety sign or label, there are often specific standards provided by OSHA that can be referenced. Some companies also provide OSHA-compliant templates.

S+H: What’s on the horizon?

Chan: In the future, organizations will have more choices when it comes to safety signs and labels. Traditionally, many safety signs and labels have been available as preprinted, off-the-shelf products.

There will be new options that allow for easier customization and the ability to print more types of safety signs and labels onsite using standard desktop printers that companies already own.

These types of solutions have the potential to help organizations create a safe workplace faster and more cost 

Compiled with the assistance of the International Safety Equipment Association

Coming next month:

  • Lighting/flashlights
  • Disinfectants/cleaners

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