Using Safety Signs as a Precaution for Public Safety
The Regulations cover the protection of employees, but not the public, from risks. In many workplaces members of the public are exposed to the same risks as employees. Employers must train employees to understand safety signs, but provision of such training for the public is impractical.
For example, where the warning sign of a cross for a harmful or irritant material is displayed employees should know from the training given by the employer:
- the meaning of the sign;
- the significance of the hazard; and
- the steps required to avoid harm.
However, an untrained member of the public on seeing the same sign could easily interpret the cross as:
- a crossing of traffic routes, thus rendering the sign ineffective; or
- an indication of first aid, thus increasing the risk rather than reducing it.
Where safety signs are also used to inform the public, employers may need to use improved signs or further precautionary measures.