Thought Leadership


Warning signs – Do you warn about hazards that no longer exist?

May 29, 2014
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ISHN Guest BlogThere are safety stories everywhere you go. This week, I was buying gas and ran into the store to get a soft drink. As I did, I heard a guy ask the cashier if it was still wet near a "slippery when wet" sign.

The cashier answered, "No, it dried up."

The gentleman then offered to move the sign out of the way as it was a trip hazard all by itself. I walked over and thanked him for correcting the situation and watching out for everyone's safety.

All too often, I see these signs used in areas where it might get wet. The problem is people walk by and see there is no hazard except for the sign and they begin to doubt its accuracy. When people continually see the sign is incorrect they will habitually begin to ignore the warning. Now, there is real danger because when there is an actual slip hazard it will be ignored.

If you have an area that potentially may be slippery, put a permanent sign in the area cautioning about the possibility. It would be similar to the signs you see on the highway warning a bridge may freeze before the road approaching the bridge. This is a good cautionary sign.

Our credibility as safety team members and professionals is at stake when we continually warn about hazards that don't exist. Language does matter and it is important to distinguish between a potential hazard and one that is currently an impending threat.

Until next week,
I'll be, "Watching Out For Everyone's Safety™"
John

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