Electrical safety signs have been invented with aim of keeping workers safe. As you probably already know, job with electrical equipment involves a wide range of threats. Failing to abide safety signs and all of the guidelines for safe operating procedures could lead to serious injury, or death. Inappropriate use of any kind of equipment can lead to injury or death, but it is even more likely with electric tools or heavy machinery. That is why every piece of electrical equipment is clearly marked with safety signs or symbols, and all machinery is marked with hazard warnings.
Every person working, either working in or simply visiting the site, should be responsible for abiding these symbols and signs. As an apprentice or independent electrician, Your training will or already has taught the meanings of the most common signs. Once starting Your journey to become an electrician, there is available small handbooks that can be comfortably carried around, in case You come across an unfamiliar symbol, or forget what a particular symbol means. There are literally hundreds of different symbols and electrical safety signs. Memorizing the meaning of every one might seem impossible, but after You have been working with electricity for a while, and are surrounded by these symbols on a daily basis, they will be as easy to remember and understand. Of course, most electrical safety signs have the danger or warning written in large, clear letters, but sometimes the warning is depicted by a symbol, such as a big hand with a red circle around it. This symbol means “no exit”.
Signs Are Designed To Protect
There are several procedures involved when working with large equipment. The most important is the lock out program. You have to clearly indicate on the outside of the machinery that You are on the inside or around the back where others may not be able to notice You.
There are usually several lock out tags You have to put on the power switch and in other areas to warn people not to turn on the machine, but it is also a good idea to barricade or flag off Your work area and to put up an electrical hazard sign. Not all businesses make this a mandatory requirement (follow Your company’s specific guidelines and rules), but it could greatly decrease the chance of unnecessary injury or death. Additionally, companies should have electrical safety signs posted throughout the premises that clearly explain the lock out procedure, and inform every person what a lock out tag looks like, as well as what it means.
Electrical signs are often put on barricades to prevent entry into certain spaces, or sometimes an entire street when working outside. In most of the cases, these types of signs will warn against high voltage or overhead wires, but the most crucial is the “No Trespassing” sign. Curiosity or carelessness can lure someone into a dangerous area, and a no trespassing sign will not guarantee that they stay out, but it definitely might help. Simply putting up a sign like this on the wall or nearby pole is usually not enough, because people will simply ignore them, not read what the sign says, or not even see the sign at all. With the barricade, it is much harder to ignore the sign.
Most Common Signs
The signs requested most often by the Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) include:
- #1 DANGER – HIGH VOLTAGE S. Since electricity is invisible to a human eye and does not posses a smell or sound, one does not know when is exposed until touches it and gets a shock. The shock received could be as mild as small zap, or severe enough to stop the heart. In the U.S., approximately 400 deaths and a countless number of injuries are caused by electric shock on annual basis.
- #2 DANGER – DO NOT ENTER. When working in a particularly dangerous area, You must use the suitable tools and safety gear to keep Yourself safe. You must also be familiar with the dangers area presents, like sudden drop-offs, treacherous footing, unsound structures or low oxygen levels. Others are not prepared as You are and thus must be restricted from entering the area until it is safe to do so.
- #3 DANGER – HARD HAT AREA. Signs must be clearly posted in any area where there is even the slightest possibility of objects falling to let everyone know that a hard hat must be worn here at all times.
- #4 DANGER – NO SMOKING. Although smoking is not allowed in just about every corner of every factory or work site, some people still need to be reminded that smoking is prohibited.
Never Ignore A Safety Sign!
They are placed with a purpose. Remember, either You are a person enrolled in an electrician apprenticeship program, experienced professional or a simple passerby, signs are designed to prevent serious injuries and death to happen and thus must be obeyed in every situation, no matter how much inconveniences they might cause.