Running a school isn’t easy! There are so many different things that need to be considered. One thing that can never be compromised is safety. Not only could you end up on the wrong side of the law if you don’t adhere to the health and safety regulations that are in place, but you could end up with someone experiencing a serious injury and the financial implications could be astronomical. With that in mind, the best thing to do is to make sure you fulfill your legal obligations when it comes to health and safety. So, let’s take a look at all of the safety signs your school needs to be legal in 2020.
The UK Government has put a number of health and safety regulations in place for all organisations and businesses to follow. This includes the Health and Safety (Safety Signs and Signals) Regulations 1996. These regulations have been designed for anyone who has the responsibility of controlling premises and work sites, with schools included.
Thes regulations make it law that you need to make certain that safety signs are in place and maintained in any sort of circumstances whereby there is a risk to health and safety, which has not been controlled or removed by other methods. This is appropriate whereby the use of a sign can help to reduce the risk. Signage should not be used on its own, but rather as part of a full safety plan.
The four types of signs that you need to be aware of
There are four different signs that you may need to have in place at your school.
The first is a first-aid or emergency escape sign. You will definitely need to have these signs in place at your school. It does not matter whether you run a primary school or a specialist college, signs about rescue facilities, first aid, and emergency exits are always going to be needed. These signs are green, and their meaning or purpose is for first-aid or emergencies. They tend to be used for escape routes, exits, and equipment and facilities. For example, these signs are often used in order to highlight fire doors.
Another type of sign is the mandatory sign, which tends to be blue and white. These signs are used for prescribing a specific behaviour. For example, in a chemistry lab, you may have signs indicating that eye protection needs to be worn.
Some examples of mandatory signs that you may use within your school include the following…
- General mandatory sign, which is used with other signs
- Face protection must be warn
- Safety gloves must be worn
- Ear protection must be worn
- Eye protection must be worn
The third type of sign is the warning sign. These signs are triangular, with black outlines and yellow backgrounds. They are used to warn of hazards and danger. For example, they are often used to warn students of electricity.
Some examples of warning signs that you may use within your school include the following…
- Low temperature
- General danger
- Danger: electricity
- Industrial vehicles (if there is work going on at the school)
- Toxic material
- Explosive material
- Corrosive material
- High temperature or flammable material
Aside from general danger and electricity danger, most of these signs are not going to be used in a typical primary school environment. However, when it comes to schools that specialise in science, especially chemistry, it is very common for some of these signs to be in place.
Finally, we have prohibition and danger signs. These signs are used to prohibit behaviour that could cause danger or increase the chances of danger occurring. For example, you may use these signs to restrict access to certain rooms. Again, going back to the chemistry lab example. If you have a room containing chemicals at your school, you should put a no access for unauthorised persons sign on the door.
Some examples of prohibitory signs that you may use within your school include the following…
- Do not touch
- Do not extinguish with water
- Not drinkable
- No access for pedestrians
- No smoking
- No access for unauthorised persons
There are also fire signs that are often used in schools. This includes signs that indicate fire equipment, such as alarms and extinguishers. These signs are typically in red and rectangular or square in shape.
While there are a number of different types of safety signs, it is also critical to realise that signboards are only going to be effective if they can be seen and understood. If you have too many signs that are placed in close proximity, this can cause confusion. In order for you to fulfill your legal obligation as a school, it is vital that the information on the signs is understood, and that you have not merely placed loads of signs around the school for the sake of it!
Your school signs need to be maintained
It is not enough to simply have the school signs in place, they need to be maintained as well. This is imperative to ensure that they are able to perform the function for which they are intended. This can range from regular checks of illuminated signs, to routine cleaning of signboards, to testing acoustic signals to make sure that they work correctly. It is also imperative to make certain that all of your school safety signage maintains their intrinsic features when there is a power failure, unless the power failure will get rid of the hazard.
So there you have it: hopefully, you now have a better understanding of school signage and the different types of signs that you are going to require at your school throughout 2020. As mentioned, these signs are critical when it comes to keeping all children, visitors, and staff members safe. They are also vital in terms of ensuring you do not end up on the wrong side of the law and have a massive legal battle on your hands. After all, this is the last thing that any sort of business or organisation needs!