Safety signs are required by law to communicate information to members of the public. This requirement is to ensure the well being of individuals who are employed in working environments such as food retail, food manufacturing, catering, construction or building and plant maintenance for example. Similarly signage is used to communicate and enforce law requirements outside of the workplace.
Smoking Safety Signs
Smoking in enclosed places was banned in England on 1st July 2007. This followed similar bans Northern Ireland on 2nd April and Wales on 30th April 2007
The Health and Safety Signs (Safety Signs & Signals) Regulations became the law within the UK on 1st April 1996. The regulations implement the European Safety Signs Directive (92/58/EEC) which is designed to standardise signage across Europe and ensure that the signs are clearly understood.
Mobile phone safety signs
From February 27th 2007, if you are caught using a mobile phone in a moving vehicle without a hands-free-kit, you will receive a £60 fine and three penalty points on your license.
Health and Safety signs (First Aid) Regulations 1981 amended 1997
Employers have a legal obligation to assess their workplace provisions for First aid under the above mentioned act.
The Regulatory Reform, Fire Safety Order 2006 creates a move towards fire prevention. This relates to the law of England and Wales. Northern Ireland and Scotland refer have their own laws on these issues.
Risk assessment and health and safety policies and procedures are vital for any organisation to function. The management have the responsibility to protect the employee’s welfare, and prevent accidents by providing a safe working environment. Naylor (2002) writes how companies of the European Union, adhere to national legislation in the form of EU directives to achieve a level of standard and practises.
For the UK legislation, Naylor (2002) details the guiding principles of the Health and Safety Work Act, 1974, where employers have the following duties;
- “To produce a statement of general safety policy and how it is to be implemented and to distribute it to all employees.”
- “Ensure that workplaces and their plant and processes are safe and do not have health risks.”
- “Ensure that all materials are transported, stored, handled and used in a safe manner.”
- “Provide safe means of entry, exit and escape from all premises and work areas.”
- “Instruct, supervise and train all employees in good health and safety practices in the work place.”
- Consult with, according to published codes of practice, employee’s representatives on all matters related to health and safety signs; set up safety committees if asked by the representatives.”
- “Ensure that persons who are not employed are given information on safety and hazards both in relation to their working within the premises and their use of equipment and materials.” (p.177-178)
A manufacturing industry would need to comply with `the control of substance hazardous to health (COSHH) regulations of 1999’ by ensuring employee’s are aware of, and how to control the risks, and therefore work safely. In considering risks assessment, `the display screen equipment regulation of 1992’ is to be adhered to. Key features of `the health and safety signs regulation of 1992’ also include, keyboards, desks, chairs, lighting, heat and humidity, breaks, radiation, consultation, eyesight and training.