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To Be Temporary or Not to Be, that is the Question

20 July 2020

As the weeks role by we are seeing most facilities that are still operating implement social distancing signage. Although this has been mainly recognised in retail environments, commercial premises such as warehousing & distribution have also put these signage programs in place to ensure staff maintain the 2m social distancing guidance.

A recent study conducted by Spectrum Industrial showed however that over 50% of companies have just put makeshift products in place and even including those who have invested in signage and products for social distancing, 93% see this as just being a temporary measure.

A report in the Science Journal claims that Social Distancing measures are likely needed to be kept in place until 2022 and although these temporary measures are a good start in demonstrating responsible practice, many makeshift products will become a hazard in their own right, causing other health & safety problems for the business.

Managing Director, Paul Kantecki commented “we are seeing many businesses use incorrect tape, or producing their own DIY signs, its great to see businesses have reacted quickly, but there are regulations around safety signage and the fact that it must be clearly visible and we should not treat this signage any differently to any other health and safety measure. Homemade / DIY laminated signs will fade, lift and wear quickly not making them clearly visible. In addition if products such as tape are used and it’s not actual floor tape, this will quickly become a trip and slip hazard, creating a host of other health and safety issues”.

The importance of signage is made clear within the Heath and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. It says that signs are required where significant risks to the health and safety of employees and others continue to exist, even after all other relevant precautions have been taken. Paul continued, “Legislation does not allow us to put up DIY safety signs around our business premises, and this virus should not be treat any differently”.

The HSE have recently issued guidance for employers in taking action during these extraordinary times. Although Social Distancing signs are not yet recognised as a standard requirement in the same way as a fire extinguisher sign or fire exit sign, employers have a responsibility to their workforce and individuals on their premises. “ Being proactive and having a social distancing and hygiene policy and procedure in place along with appropriate signage and other measures means you keep your teams safe and reduce the risks”.

Peter Clayton, Head of Sales at Spectrum said, “The modern day health and safety professional will have to look to introduce a risk assessment that covers this virus and deploy preventative measures, just as the measures are taken to prevent many risks in the workplace. These could start to include appropriate signage and site rule notices, training to staff on hygiene policies, hand sanitisers, remote working, non essential travel and travel health and safety advice for work based travel and visitor procedures and declaration requirements to name a few, as well as introducing further measures for pregnant women and the vulnerable workers”.

Paul continued, “We want to help businesses deliver the 2m social distancing measures as recommended by the Government. Social distancing is not in our nature and means creating new habits for everyone, more visible, clearer signs can help to form these habits and instil a new safety regime for the future”.

“We also understand the challenges businesses face, as we are also experiencing this ourselves. Each business sector will face different challenges and have to look at different measures as they start to plan to re-open. It’s important that businesses assess their whole business and the measures required. One thing we stress to most of our clients is, it’s not just about putting signage down, this has to be treat like any health and safety risk management and many measures will need to be put in place”. 

Businesses just need to act responsibly and ethically and put the right measures in place now.

With over 25 years experience of manufacturing safety signs and products, Spectrum have created a resource hub on their website, to provide advice and guidance where they can. For more information about Spectrum and their product range visit www.spectrum-industrial.co.uk or email sales@spectrum-industrial.co.uk