Fish and chip shops buying new or replacement safety signs should consider possible new legislation that could see all workplace signage standardised throughout Europe.
That’s the message from workplace equipment supplier Slingsby which predicts ISO 7010 will become EN 7010, thereby making it compulsory, rather than just a recommendation, for internationally recognised symbols to be used on safety signs.
Martyn Lowe, QESH advisor at Slingsby, which sells a full range of EN 7010 compliant signs, explains: “This will be a major shake-up of legislation surrounding safety signs and although the introduction date is still to be confirmed, it will affect nearly all businesses and public sector organisations throughout the UK.”
The change is designed to reflect the growing population of non-native speaking employees to whom text based signs, or those with unfamiliar pictures, might not be understood.
Instead standard signs featuring highly comprehensive symbols will be used on all signage throughout Europe so an emergency exit sign in Birmingham looks exactly the same as it would in Budapest.
Martyn recommends fish and chip shops carry out signage audits on a regular basis to check all signs are relevant to potential risks and fully comprehensible.
He adds: “This legislation is another important factor to consider because any organisations currently buying signs could soon end up having to replace them again if they don’t comply with the new standards.
“Although initially this may seem like an inconvenience, safety signs remain one of the easiest and cheapest ways of preventing workplace accidents so it’s worth doing and will definitely prove to be money well spent.”
Under The Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996, employers are required to provide specific safety signs whenever there is a risk that has not been eradicated by other means.
In cases where a safety sign would not help to reduce the risk, or where the risk is not significant, there is no need to provide a sign.