Warnings Related to Work Equipment
The employer must ensure that work equipment incorporates any warnings or warning devices which are:
- appropriate for health and safety reasons;
- easily perceived;
- easily understood.
The employer must carry out risk assessments and, as regards equipment hazards and the effectiveness of engineering and other controls over risks, he should decide what warnings and/or warning devices are needed to further reduce risks. The manufacturer might have already incorporated some or all that are required. The employer should provide information, instruction and training to ensure that people who may be at risk know exactly what the warnings/warning devices mean and how to respond to them.
Warnings can be permanent printed ones, attached to or incorporated into the equipment or positioned close to it. They are generally in the form of a label, notice, poster, or the like.
Sometimes there is a need for portable warnings to be posted during temporary operations, such as maintenance. These are often seen in the form of free-standing rigid signs, self-adhesive and easily removable labels or notices, tie-on tags, or the like.
Warning devices are generally audible (such as reversing alarms on construction vehicles) or visible (eg. light on a control panel on a microbiological cabinet which warns that it has broken down).
Warning devices are often used to indicate:
- imminent danger (eg. machine about to start);
- development of a fault condition (eg. conveyor blockage indicator on a control panel);
- continued presence of a potential hazard (eg. hot-plate or laser on).