Health and Safety - Warnings
Whether it concerns employees in a place of work or members of the public out and about, warnings serve to alert them to the presence of danger and will usually require them to take action by either doing something (e.g. getting out of the way, wearing a hard hat) or deliberately not doing something such as not smoking or not using a mobile telephone in the vicinity.
Warnings Need to be Understood
One of the most important aspects of a warning is that they must be easily and quickly understood so that a person can take the appropriate action in time to avoid coming to harm. Many warning signs are either a picture and words or even just a picture. Not only does this visual representation allow for a quick understanding, but it also means that those who cannot understand the language will know what message is trying to be conveyed. This is particularly useful in locations such as airports or popular tourist attractions where there are likely to be lots of people of different nationalities present.
Audible warnings also have their uses, but they are more likely to be misunderstood. In terms of language, an audible instruction could be misunderstood or not understood at all if the person does not understand the language. If the audible warning is not an instruction but rather just a siren or bell or beeping sound, then if a worker or member of the public has not been pre-informed of what it means, then they will not know what they should do when they hear the alarm as they will not know the nature of the emergency! As far as workers are concerned, being informed of the various audible warnings that they may hear (including being given a demonstration of it) and what they should do in the event of hearing it should be part of their health and safety induction training as the emergency could take place at any time, including on their first day of work.