Five Tips for Posting Battery Room Signage
When workers are aware of risks and know how to avoid them, injury rates drop significantly. Signage plays a crucial role in this process. Safety signs are particularly helpful in forklift battery rooms, where the potential hazards associated with industrial batteries — high voltages, acidic electrolyte, immense weight — are often encountered.
Of course, signage also has implications for compliance. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide signs that keep workers informed about the hazards. In order to keep your operation safe, you also need to place your signs where they’ll be seen, read, and understood as quickly as possible.
To put it another way, there’s more to signage than just choosing signs; it can be a challenge to determine the most effective locations for safety signs in the battery room. Here are a few tips to make sure your signage gets noticed:
Keep the Lights On
Make sure that your safety notices are posted in a well-lit area, and consider how lighting may change from shift to shift. Your bright yellow "electrical hazard" sign may be perfectly visible in daylight, but shadows might obscure it completely during the afternoon or night shift. Consider investing in spot lights for important signs, and choose colors that are clearly visible.
Follow OSHA Regulations
It's not always easy to pick the best place to post battery room signage. Luckily, OSHA has some recommendations (and requirements, of course). Check out OSHA standard 1910.145 for the rules governing accident prevention signs and tags. You might also want to take a look at standard 1910.37, which covers signage for exit routes.
Post Exit Routes, Not Just Exit Signs
A simple exit sign hanging above your door should satisfy your local fire code, right?
Not quite. Think of your exit signs as points within a broader route; exit routes work best when the direction of travel is always clear. If you look around your battery room and find that you can't locate the exit sign above the nearest door, post exit arrows along the evacuation route until the exit sign enters your line of sight.
Walls aren’t the only place to post safety signs. Floor markings are tremendously effective at preventing certain accidents and keeping workers in defined traffic routes, and OSHA standard 1910.22 requires all permanent aisles and passageways to be "appropriately marked." In the battery room, you can improve forklift traffic by painting safety notifications into lanes themselves.
Plan for Sight Lines
Wherever possible, locate your signs at eye-level. Test your posting locations by walking around the room. If the sign is frequently obstructed, see if there's a nearby location that keeps the sign within your line of sight.
Signs prevent injuries by warning workers of hazards, thereby giving them a chance to avoid risky behavior. To work properly, the signs must be completely visible at a moment's notice, and workers need to understand and comply with the information immediately. The general rule is: if your staff can't see the warning, then it doesn't exist.
Of course, staff should be taught to notice signage as part of a comprehensive training program. Along with plenty of training, personal protective equipment, and full OSHA compliance, a well-placed collection of safety signs will keep your battery room free of injuries and accidents during every shift.
Collins, Dave. “When and Where to Display Safety Signs in Your Warehouse.” Safetyrisk. Riskex Pty. Ltd., 27 March 2014. Web. 14 July 2015.
Hodkiewicz, Tricia S. "Warehouses store many hazards: stock up on safety sign and marking ideas." Industrial Safety & Hygiene News 2012: 108. General OneFile. Web. 14 July 2015.
"Specifications for Accident Prevention Signs and Tags. - 1910.145." Occupational Safety and Health Administration. United States Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 09 July 2015.