Safety tags are essential to protecting people on any work site. They are crucial to conveying important information to ensure everyone takes necessary precautions to avoid hazards. Construction and work sites are constantly changing environments. And quick access to the latest and most accurate information is essential.
Did a scaffolding issue reveal it was unsafe to work on? Then your workers need a way to see this. Will loud heavy machinery be used, requiring your team to wear ear protectors? They should be able to see this on entering the relevant area. And can your workers identify the status and condition of the power tools they are operating?
You can achieve all of this and more with safety and inspection tags. However, not any tag will do. Often jobs will require bespoke safety tags - custom-made solutions tailored to your needs. However, if these are not carefully designed, they can be more of a hindrance than a help. A safety tag that is unclear or causes confusion is as bad as (or potentially worse than) no tag. But what goes into an effective safety tag? What mistakes do you need to avoid?
We have seen all the mistakes and oversights you can make when designing a bespoke tag. We've described them below to give you the definitive Dos and Don'ts of creating your own safety tags. Avoid confusion and subsequent accidents with these bespoke tags pro design tips.
Avoid Hard-To-Read Text
A tag is only useful if it is easy to read. This means the text must be clear and in a readable font and size. Furthermore, colour contrast is essential. Safety and inspection tags use strong colours such as bright red or yellow to make them more visible and convey information.
Any text over these colours should contrast to make them clearer. Commonly this means darker reds will use white text whilst yellows use black. For the most part, white backgrounds will contain black text, though red is sometimes used for emphasis and to highlight certain aspects.
Avoid Using The Wrong Header
Anyone that has spent any time on a construction site is probably familiar with signs and labels with words like "Danger", "Warning", and "Caution" written across them. But did you ever stop to consider the difference between these words? Each represents a different level of severity and associated risk of the hazard it highlights. It is important to choose the right one for your labels.
If you label minor risks with "Danger", you might take the emphasis out of it, and you don't want your workers treating genuine danger without the caution and respect required. Conversely, marking a serious threat with a "Caution" label is insufficient.
A specific colour border accompanies each type of header to help easily identify the tags. Remember to follow the colour contrast rules when using them.
Here's a quick guide on when to use which header:
Danger (red) and Warning (orange) - Danger and Warning labels are reserved for the most severe hazards with a risk of serious harm or death.
Caution (yellow) - The use of caution indicates a hazard that, if not avoided, can result in minor to moderate bodily harm.
Notice(blue) - Notice labels are concerned with practices that do not relate to physical injuries but may include things such as hygiene and security.
Identify The Hazard And Consequences
The running theme with bespoke tag mistakes is being unclear. This includes visual aspects making them hard to read. Not creating absolute certainty about the information the label is trying to convey is also an issue. We already addressed the latter to a degree regarding choosing the right headings for the label. Messaging considerations go much further than this. What is written on your label is fundamental to its effectiveness. Often it will need to provide a lot of very vital information. Furthermore, it must do so precisely.
A good guideline for ensuring your safety tags provide a clear and concise message is to name the hazard, the consequences and how to avoid it. Here are some practical considerations for writing a message:
Start with a clear and direct statement on what someone should or should not do to avoid a hazard. For example, "Do not energise".
Follow up by clearly identifying the hazard. For example, "defective equipment".
Finally, define the consequences of not avoiding the hazard. For instance, "Can shock".
Where possible, avoid ambiguity. For instance, replace terms such as "regularly" with specific time frames.
Make Space To Write Details
Delivering all the necessary information is also vital for inspection tags. With inspection tags, you must allocate specific space to add each piece of the required information. Typically you will need space for the inspector's name and signature, the date of the inspection and an area to detail your findings. You may also require to add the due date of the next inspection.
Avoid Using Small Safety Tags
Another mistake to avoid is choosing tags that are too small. Whilst tags of all sizes have their uses, go a size larger when in doubt. Even when keeping your messages concise, there is much information to add. Plus, you want your tags to be prominent and easy to read. Using larger tags will make this much easier. It's also important to note that you can utilise both sides of a safety tag.
Create Better Bespoke Tags
Safety and inspection tags are crucial to the health and well-being of your workers, visitors and others. Therefore, when creating your own bespoke tags, it is essential to avoid common pitfalls and mistakes. You need to consider design elements such as the colours used. And it is vital to get the message right, effectively communicating precisely what your workers need to know. You must supply room for all the required details too. To achieve this whilst ensuring it is still easily readable. Following these guidelines will create better bespoke tags and a safer working environment.