ISHN Guest BlogAs a safety speaker, I have the opportunity to visit many different work locations each year. Fortunately, my clients have me back year after year to do an entirely different presentation so I become familiar with their location. The challenge is the first visit.

I just recently did a presentation for Peabody Energy in Indiana at one of their coal mines. As with many mines and industrial sites, it was off the main road on a smaller side road. As I approached the site, I was thrilled as I saw the name of the particular facility where I was speaking and an appropriate arrow telling me the way to go. I turned and was pleased along the way as I hit places where a turn was possible to see a new sign with that comforting arrow. Having confidence in their signage allowed allowed me to keep focused on the road as I continued on.

Also, because of their clear directions I was not driving on an unsafe road where I should not be. As I was setting up at the maintenance facility, I shared with the manager of the site how good their signs were. I made the day of the guy standing next to him as he was the one who had arranged for all their signs.

In my travels as a safety speaker, I can assure you this is not always the case. Too often, cities have signs directing you to the airport and then two or three intersections or splits in the road occur with no further instructions. What a potential safety hazard that creates. Someone in a hurry to get to the airport, unfamiliar with the area, and not sure of where they are going make split second changes. Talk about distracted driving.

The challenge is anyone making the signs has usually been at the site for many years and only needs a few signs to get them on their way. A solution and a way to check how clear your signs are is to bring in a visitor and see if they can find their way around without help.

Clarity of instructions, whether they are directions or procedures, can improve the safety of your workplace. The next time you are walking or driving through your facility, observe if the signage is adequate and helps people arrive safely at their destination.

Yours in Service,
John Drebinger Jr.