Safety Signs at your Building Site: It’s the law!

The law is simple on this one: Avoid fines and non-compliance by displaying adequate signage at your building site before any construction work begins. There’s no reason to fork out for fines for something as simple as hammering in a few nails to place up signage!

While the term “adequate” can be vague, depending on the size and scope of the project, there should be a minimum of one general safety sign posted at each building, as well as additional signs at any point that could be reasonably deemed to be an entrance into the building zone.

In addition to general safety info, health and safety legislation stipulates that anyone on or near a construction site must be warned of all hazardous activities related to the project. Bottom line, don’t skimp on signs. You’ll be in a world of hurt if a preventable accident occurs on your site because workers weren’t properly warned of a potential danger.

Rules are not meant to be broken.
The cornerstone of any safe work site is a clear cut set of rules and a designated safety manager charged with ensuring these rules are followed. Display site rules where they can be easily seen, in a high-traffic area.

For assistance in developing a safety program for your business, contact Safe Work Australia.

Depending on the project, additional signage will be required. Safety signs come in 4 basic flavours: Mandatory Signs, Warning Signs, Danger Signs, and Emergency Signs.

No choice in the matter.
Mandatory signs are used to indicate some instruction to be carried out. This category of signs can be recognised by a white drawing inside of a blue circle. They are used to designate required safety equipment within a certain area, or to communicate an action that must be carried out.

Examples include: ear or eye protection required, hard hat zone, dust mask or respirator required, switch off after use, wash hands, use protective clothing, keep locked, and so on.

Hey, watch out! (Warning Signs)
Warning signs use black text or images on a yellow background to indicate the existence of a hazardous material or situation. Generally the conditions conveyed by warning signs are not imminently life threatening.

Examples include: flammable material, slippery when wet, heavy equipment zone, work overhead, low voltage electricity, asbestos present, falling hazard, toxic vapours present, and so on.

Dumb ways to die. (Danger Signs)
Danger signs let people know the presence of a real life threatening danger. This category includes a red oval with the word “danger” in white letters against a black background.

Examples include: high voltage, radiation present, crane working overhead, deep excavation, asbestos removal in process, danger of explosion, confined space, and so on.

Anyone got a plaster? (Emergency Signs)
Emergency signs point the way to exits and first-aid or safety equipment. An emergency sign can be identified by a white picture or text on a green background. Use these signs to indicate the existence of any emergency-related facilities.

Stranger danger. (Site Directions)
While you are not legally required to do so, it’s a good idea to post at all site entrances a sign that directs visitors to report to the site office. Similarly, mandate that all new workers to the site, including subcontractors and tradespeople, are inducted to the site by the safety manager prior to beginning work.

There’s no reason not to do this, so keep Health and Safety front of mind and protect workers and visitors to your site. Remember, it’s the law. Besides it’s the right thing to do.

Comments 1

  1. I think you’re right about putting up safety signs at work sites. Not only is it the law, I don’t think anybody wants to injure their employees or deal with the costs associated with those injuries. I also think that in conjunction with signs, it’s good to make the necessary investment to get quality safety equipment for your employees.

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