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The Importance of Signs for Health and Safety


Signs are everywhere, and play an important role not only when it comes to health and safety, but also in everyday life. A person will see so many signs during the course of a day such as driving to work or walking through the street that they are likely not to realise just how prevalent and numerous they are. These signs can vary in intent:- those that inform, those that warn of potential danger or hazards, signs that provide directions etc.

Signs as warnings

As far as health and safety is concerned, the majority of signs will be those that warn of danger. They are designed to be highly visible so that they do not go unnoticed and so provide the intended warnings which may be the difference between a person or persons having a serious accident or not. In this way they can literally be the difference between life and death.

Signs can provide instructions, directions and guidance

As well as providing warnings, signs can also give instructions and directions which need to be followed in the event of an emergency. Typical examples include emergency exit signs which easily show people where to exit the building in the event of an incident such as a fire.

Visual signs

Emergency exit signs are also a good example of the importance of visual signs. Whilst some signs are made up of words which can provide useful instructions, many signs are designed to convey their message with a picture so that they can be understood by people regardless of what language they speak. A picture sign can also be more easily understood in the event of an emergency and allow for quicker evacuation than if a person had to stop and read the words on it.

Signs overload

Of course all these signs everywhere can lead to a person being overwhelmed by the information. As mentioned earlier, many signs rely on their visual impact to grab the attention of someone so that they take in the information being conveyed by the sign. However, if there are too many signs, the eye can be overloaded and will not notice or take the perhaps vital information on board. It is therefore important that signs are kept to a minimum so that the most essential information can be conveyed to the viewer.

Selected Courses

Please see below for a selection of health and safety courses and qualifications which you may be interested in:

NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety is the flagship NEBOSH qualification, and is the first UK vocational qualification to be developed specifically for health and safety professionals.

The NEBOSH National Diploma provides the core health and safety knowledge (transferable across industry, commerce and the public sector) which, combined with understanding and appropriate application, underpins the competent performance of an occupational health and safety practitioner.

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NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety

The NEBOSH General Certificate is one of the most popular and widely-held health and safety qualifications in the UK. It is intended to be taken by managers, supervisors and any other employees who require an understanding of general health and safety issues.

The NEBOSH General Certificate covers the main legal requirements for health and safety in the UK, along with the identification and control of workplace hazards, and the practical application of this knowledge. The general content of the NEBOSH General Certificate syllabus means it is suitable and relevant for those working in virtually any industry, and is often used as a solid foundation for those going on to further study and specialising in a particular area such as construction site health and safety or fire safety.

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IOSH Managing Safely Course

The IOSH Managing Safely course is designed for managers and supervisors of organisations in virtually all industry sectors, in order to give them all they need to know to effectively manage health and safety in the workplace.

Recently updated, the new high impact programme covers key health and safety issues, and includes references to international case studies.

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CITB Site Management SMSTS Course

The Site Management Safety Training Scheme (SMSTS) is one of the most popular health and safety training courses, and is intended for construction site managers, project managers and senior supervisors, as well as proprietors of smaller companies.

Client-based personnel would also benefit from attending the SMSTS course.

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CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course

This course is for those who have entered, or are about to enter, the construction and civil engineering industry as a member of the workforce to help them understand the potential hazards that they face at work on site. It aims to provide a practical summary of health and safety, welfare and environmental health and safety issues.

The course also allows delegates to identify their individual responsibilities for looking after themselves and others, what the employer's duties are and what should be done if they think anyone's health and safety is being put at risk.

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