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Safety Signs And Colors In Construction Industry Mauritius Construction Essay

3.1 Introduction

According to a survey done the International labor organization report “Safety Culture at Work” they consider that worldwide costs of workplace accidents are annually, an estimated 1.25 thousand million US dollars. Even grimmer is the 2 million people who died as a result of work. When it comes to improving safe work practices, there is a methodology of surveying hazards, reducing them and then training and managing for the irreducible risks. Safety signs and colors slot into this latter task as the silent reminders of safe work. Safety signs by themselves do not make a safe work place but they just reinforce all the other actions.

Moreover, construction is the largest industry in United Kingdom and the accounts for 8% of its gross domestic product. There has been over years at poor record of safety and health in the construction industry, particularly in 2006 and 2007 where there was a 28% increase in construction fatalities. Research shows that companies which have implemented uniformed safety signs and colors system to make hazards more visible and easy to identify has successfully lowered their injury frequency rates. Workers know that safety signs and colors mean the same thing even when they work in different departments or plant locations. It also enables employees to quickly locate the emergency equipment.

Becca Kandler December 01, 2008

In construction industry, safety is even more critical than in other industries. Construction is one of the areas of employment where hazardous conditions are part of the everyday working environment. Safety is important in construction because of the many risks to worker health. In the same context, the Rehm-Grinaker construction industry had all possible ways to facilitate the employees to understand the safety signs and colors. This point was noted by the OSHA Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) in terms of the applicability of OSHA requirements to the construction industry. Because it is hard to create safe work zones in dynamic job sites, workers have to be doubly cautious to observe all safety practices on the job.

J.J. Keller, December 2002

The following sections will deal with the understanding of safety signs and colors at Rehm-Grinaker Mauritius construction industry.

3.2 Definition of safety signs and colors used at workplace

Around the turn of the 20th century, scattered literature began to appear regarding the role of signs in accident prevention. As the industrial movement marched forward, there was a recognized need for an organized effort towards accident prevention, a major part of which included the development of a standard approach to safety signage. The National Safety Council charged the American Standards Association (ASA) with the responsibility of developing standard designs and colors for signs aimed at providing a system to quickly and effectively alert workers to a potentially dangerous situation. In the 60's, the scope was expanded to standardize the incorporation of pictorials on safety signs. Although many organizations and independent companies have developed product safety signs and label guidelines specific to their needs, the most generally accepted criteria for safety signs are currently published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) designated as standards Z535.1 through Z535.5. The information that follows in this article is presented to give the reader an introduction to selected aspects of signage.

ANSI defines a safety sign and colors as a visual alerting device which advises the observer of a potential hazard. The sign should therefore be eye catching and clearly convey the intended message. Safety signs may consist of signal word, a message panel, and/or a pictorial symbol that are displayed in specific colors to alert and inform observers to take precautionary or other appropriate action in the presence of potential hazards.

Ideally, the workplace will be hazard-free and safe from potential injuries and accidents. However, many operations involve a certain amount of risk that cannot be controlled through engineering measures, administrative controls, or personal protective equipment. These situations require careful measures to prevent workplace accidents and injuries. The value of safety signs and colors in these situations must not be ignored.

http://www.unified-eng.com/news/safetysigns.html, 13 December 2010

The comprehensive system of signs has over two thousand designs and pretty much covers every industrial or business sector. To do this variety of tasks, a hazard sign communicates expected behavior and the positions of emergency gear and dangerous materials. Over the years accepted organization has developed a globally accepted categorization with signs placed into functional groups.  Beginning with the informational to the most serious, “failure to observe this sign is life threatening”, they perform a crucial role in directing employees to safer work practices. The employees can understand this most simply by the fact that common signs of this group include No Smoking, No Drinking and Eating, and No Entry and so on.

Thus this applies even more so as the strength of the message being delivered escalates to “failure to observe this sign will result in death”. Easy recognition of a functional group has been assured by using a colored and pictorial graphic format that is group specific. Every functional group is graphically the same, with a banner headline unique in color and graphical style to that group.

3.3 Safety signs and colors in construction industry

Safety signs and colors can provide an initial warning to employees as to dangers. Imagine the scenario of a construction site. A new employee on his first day is unaware of the various dangers of a construction environment, yet finds no signage to guide him through his employment. This is simply a minefield of danger and without safety signs and colors in place, that employee would be very lucky to remain safe throughout the course of his first day. In environments where danger lurks around every corner, having adequate and clear safety signs and colors can help advise staff of the pending dangers and ultimately instill caution when it is required most.

Amit Gupta, 2006

Furthermore safety signs and colors play a great role in enhancing the safety of construction workers by reminding them to stay alert and extra careful while carrying out tasks involving risks. The safety signs and colors contain helpful instructions and warnings that direct workers and visitors to take required precautions at construction sites. Utmost safety signs and colors also recommend workers to wear proper safety equipment for their protection while handling dangerous construction machines and tools. They contain necessary messages that forbid the entry of unauthorized personnel in restricted premises. This is important for the safety of visitors also as they are unaware of the hazards present at the construction sites.

http://www.articlesbase.com/electronics-articles/construction-safety-signs-2410189.html, 25 December 2010

3.3.1 The Importance of understanding safety signs and colors in construction industry

The understanding of safety signs and colors in a construction industry is paramount but safety signs and colors are often seen as part of the bureaucratic process rather than a practically important safety tool. It is important to make sure that construction employees and anyone in or near the construction site are made aware of the dangers. Incidents occurring due to insufficient understanding or not visible marking of dangerous areas in general and construction industry in particular, can lead to injuries and loss of lives. The responsibility of correct prevention and the legal consequences and costs in case of incidents fall completely to the construction company management and the building site manage.

http://www.safetyparameters.com/, 25 December 2010

Hence where workman is employed in a road excavation, or in a scaffolding project, it is crucial to ensure that no harm is caused to the employees working on field during the efforts. One way to help best ensure this is by employing clear safety signs and colors to warn the employees to exercise caution as they go. This helps keep the employer out of trouble as well as acting as a safeguard for the employees, allowing a smoother interaction between dangerous employment environments and the ordinary thoroughfare. In construction industry, as in most industries, effective use of signage is a key factor in raising a company’s profile such as generating business and ensuring the health and safety of workers. The employer must have the capability to provide signage solutions for all aspects of the operation.

It is essential to understand what a particular sign; security means the same manner it is significant that these safety signs and colors are large and clear enough be noticed during an emergency. Consequently a proper understanding of safety signs and colors can make maneuvering through construction areas much safer for the employees. It must also be strategically placed in areas where it is most likely to be noticed. To increase its visibility even in the case of a blackout, a sign photoluminous or glow is recommended. Safety signs and colors photoluminous shine in the dark after a long power outage when a signal light that has emergency battery pack is a way for employees to escape, even in the construction workplace most familiar. In addition to these safety signs and colors, there are also those that can be easily hung from the ceiling which can certainly attract the attention of employees traveling in a corridor in both directions.

Phil Hughes, Ed Ferrett, 28 December 2010

3.4 Safety signs and colors at Rehm-Grinaker construction industry, Mauritius

At Rehm-Grinaker the management first establishes the specificity of the scope of work. Safety signs and colors are ordered accordingly to the nature of works and hazards associated to the project. Then the safety department proposes to the site managers a list of all safety signs and colors in relation to the site specificity and they proceed accordingly. Layout plans are provided and safety signs location is decided. Once the signs are available, the safety signs and colors are affixed on frames either wooden of metal frames.  Basic mandatory signs and general rules and regulations are normally affixed at the entrance gate and the rest are affixed at visible and unobstructed location according to the hazards or risks present.

 Furthermore, all workers go through a safety induction and signs recognition is amongst one of the topics. In additional to Safety Induction tool box talks are as well carried out to create awareness with relation to safety signage. In addition to common signage, safety posters are also affixed mostly at workers concentration that is mess room and so on. The management also emphasis this way of communication through funny sketches illustrating safe and unsafe conditions and or acts.

 However signs are regularly shifted as to create workers attention and awareness and at the same thus enlightening their interest.

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