6 Things to Consider When Purchasing Hospital Signage

Hospitals are large, complex institutions with often confusing layouts. Hospital signage is crucial to help staff, patients, visitors, contractors and delivery companies find the right locations.

It can also ensure that health and safety requirements are complied with and can even make the hospital more welcoming to those who are worried and anxious. Using signage to achieve all these things requires detailed planning and here, we’ll look at six key considerations needed when purchasing hospital signage.

  1. Assuring people they have arrived

When assessing the signage needs of your hospital, you need to begin outside. Hospitals have a lot of people going to them, aside from staff and patients, there are always lots of visitors and delivery vehicles. Everyone will need to know they have come to the right place, especially if there is more than one hospital in the town.

An exterior sign displaying the name of the hospital is essential and this will need to be clearly seen by traffic on the nearby roads. In some circumstances, multiple exterior signs may be needed and if the hospital is set back from the roadside, freestanding signs might need to be located near to the site’s entrance.

As hospitals are open 24 hours a day, external signs should be illuminated to ensure they can be seen during the night.

  1. Getting to the right building or entrance

While knowing they have arrived at the right site can put anxious patients at ease, there’s the added complexity that hospitals are usually made up of different buildings, some of which can be on different sites, and which often have their own car parks, entrances and delivery depots. Even in single-building facilities, there are usually multiple entry points, such as the main entrance, A&E and outpatients, etc.

So, in addition to large signs that name the hospital, individual buildings and entrances will need external signage that informs people what part of the hospital they are at. On top of this, external wayfinding signs can point people in the right direction in what can be a confusing and potentially disorientating environment.

  1. Helping people find their way around

Once inside, hospitals can be exceptionally difficult to navigate. With a plethora of corridors, all of which look vaguely similar to newcomers, it can be very confusing to know where you are or how to get to where you are going. This is made even more complex in multi-storey buildings where all the floors have the same or similar layout.

In highly complex internal environments such as these, wayfinding signage is absolutely essential. However, for it to be effective, it needs to be carefully considered and planned. Signs need to be installed in the right places, provide the right information, make effective use of colour coding and be easy to follow. There also needs to be consistency in how they are used. In addition to signs, the use of ‘You are here’ diagrams and colour coded floor or wall trails (e.g., follow the blue line) can also be useful in heavy traffic areas.

  1. Catering for different needs

Perhaps more than any other type of building, hospitals will need to ensure their signage system caters for a range of individual needs. Not all patients or visitors will have English as a first language, for instance, and this means there may be a need to use multiple languages on some signs or use universal symbols to help people. This is particularly important when considering the use of medical terminology on signage where even people with a very good grasp of English can get confused. Why send people to the phlebotomy department when it makes much more sense to patients to call it the blood test department?

Aside from literacy issues, other considerations include catering for those who are blind or who have limited vision. This means Braille signage may need to be added to the mix.

  1. Making people feel comfortable

People can feel very anxious when entering a hospital and a lot of effort goes into making them feel less clinical and more welcoming for patients and their visitors. Shops and cafés can give an air of normality while displaying artwork on the walls can make them feel a little more homely.

Signage, too, has a role to play in creating an atmosphere that puts people at ease. Replacing a bland welcome sign in the children’s ward with one which uses colourful images and friendlier fonts can make a nervous child (and their equally concerned parents) much less frightened when entering the ward. The use of window graphics can also be used to brighten up reception areas, wards, clinics and corridors.

  1. Meeting legal obligations

As hospitals are both a public building and a place of work, this means health and safety signage is needed to comply with legal requirements. Signs are needed for such things as emergency exits, fire extinguishers, the disposal of medical waste, radiation warnings and much more.

Before installing health and safety signs, it is recommended that an audit is undertaken to ensure that managers have a detailed and comprehensive overview of what signs are required and where. You will then need to determine the most effective way to display them and ensure that other signs in the vicinity do not distract people’s attention away from them.

Conclusion

Hospitals are hugely important public buildings that are frequently busy and where there are lots of people who may be unfamiliar not only with the facility’s layout but with the local area in which it is located. Signage is crucial to help people, including those with additional needs, get to where they need to be as easily as possible. At the same time, signage is needed to meet health and safety regulations and can be helpful in creating a more welcoming atmosphere.

If you need help putting together a comprehensive hospital signage system or need to make additions to your existing signage visit our Healthcare Signage page.

 

(0)

Construction Signs: How to Comply With Health and Safety Regulations

Building companies are legally required to display construction signs, in particular health and safety signage, to reduce the risks to their employees, contractors and visitors. In this post, we’ll look at the legal responsibilities that construction companies have and explain how to use signage in a way which is compliant with European regulations and UK law.

When do construction signs need displaying?

Construction sites are busy working environments that pose lots of potential risks to health and safety. With heavy plant, machine tools, hazardous materials, electricity, heights and various other hazards to consider, signage can make a significant contribution to improving safety. As an employer, you are required to display a sign whenever there is “a significant risk to health and safety that has not been removed or controlled by other methods.” Depending upon the nature of the project, that could mean a significant number of signs are needed, however, a sign is only required if it has the potential to lower the risk.

The decision whether to use a sign or not should be based on a risk assessment. These assessments are compulsory (see: Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999) and their aim is to identify risks and to put in measures that prevent or control them. Where prevention cannot be guaranteed and there is still a potential risk, construction signs must be used.

What is a construction sign?

There are various forms of construction sign. One of the most important is the general use “Construction Site” warning sign that should be displayed at the entrance to the site and at key places on site to remind employees, contractors and visitors that there are potential hazards to be cautious of. Equally as important are the signs which prevent unauthorised access to the site (or to parts of it), such as “No Entry” or “Entry Prohibited”.

Aside from these signs, the majority of the signage needed on the site will be health and safety signs used for specific purposes, such as requiring protective clothing to be worn or warnings about a trip hazard.

What are the most common construction signs

The most common form of sign is the signboard, a flat sign attached to a wall, door or fence. These use an internationally recognised system of colours, shapes, symbols and icons as well as text and are used for a range of purposes, for instance:

  • emergency signs, e.g. emergency exit
  • warning signs, e.g. trip hazard
  • prohibition signs, e.g. no unauthorised entry
  • mandatory signs, e.g. safety helmets must be worn

Effective use of constructions signs

Construction signage needs to be placed in the location where it will have the most impact on safety, such as on entrance doors or adjacent to machinery. They should be at a height that makes them easy to notice (e.g., signs for truck drivers will need to be higher than signs for those on foot) and easy to read. They should also be fully visible at all times, not obscured by other objects. If necessary, they should be illuminated, too.

Maintaining your signs

Construction sites are not the cleanest or tidiest of places and it is possible that signs may become dirty or even damaged because of the nature of the environment. If this happens, the signs can become ineffective and increase the risks to people on the site.

For this reason, EU regulations stipulate that all health and safety signs are effectively maintained to ensure they function properly. Signboards, for example, should be regularly inspected and cleaned so that any layers of dirt are removed. Where a sign has been damaged in a way that prevents it from functioning effectively, it should be replaced.

What makes a good construction sign?

One of the most important features of a good construction sign is its size. To function effectively, it needs to be large enough and its symbols and text clear enough to be seen and understood across the area it is meant to protect. Sometimes, it may be necessary to have multiple versions of the same sign placed around the area to ensure that the warning is always visible.
As most construction sites are heavy duty areas, any signs used should be able to withstand the knocks and scrapes they are likely to receive. They also need to be firmly secured to make sure they stay in place.

Conclusion

If you are an employer in the construction industry, hopefully, this post will have explained your obligations regarding the use of signs on construction sites, as well as showing you what kinds of signs you need and how to display and maintain them.
If you require construction signage that will help you comply with regulations, check out our range of health and safety signs. We provide signs in a vast range of sizes, materials and messages, as well as information signs for everything from washroom hygiene to smoking.

(0)
school signs at Castle Hills Primary

The Benefits of Internal and External School Signs

Good signage can bring many benefits to a school. It can improve punctuality, increase safety, celebrate achievement and promote the school’s values and brand. In this post, we’ll look at these benefits in more detail and show you the different types of signage that are best used for each purpose.

Improving punctuality

Punctuality is important to schools because it cuts down the amount of learning time which is lost. However, in large schools, it can take children quite a while to get from one classroom to another. If the average time taken moving between lessons is five minutes, then over an academic year, that adds up to 81 hours of lost teaching time. That’s equivalent to over three weeks of lessons.

Delays in getting from A to B are often caused by poor traffic flow within the school, especially when there are narrow corridors or entrances that become bottlenecks. Children may know they need to walk on the left or take a particular route when leaving a room, but they don’t always follow it. The easy solution for this is to install signs which remind the children what to do.

Ceiling suspended wayfinding signs are one of the best options for reminding students which side of the corridor to use as they can be seen from above in a crowded space. Simple arrow signs with ‘This Way’ written on them can be placed at eye-level opposite the doors to classrooms to show them the direction they need to take.

Using these signs, corridor traffic jams are less likely and the resulting delays they cause can cease, helping everyone get the next lesson started earlier.

Another punctuality issue is that people get lost. New pupils and staff, supply teachers and visitors can find unfamiliar school layouts very confusing. Even those who have been there a while won’t be familiar with every room in every building. For this reason, the use of well-placed and easily readable wayfinding signs is critical. These can include ‘You are Here’ maps, external signposts, and signs which indicate which department or room people have arrived at.

Increase safety

Safeguarding is at the top of every school’s list of priorities and signage plays a key role in keeping pupils and staff safe. Installing the necessary health and safety signs is particularly important. These will be needed across the school, especially in areas where potentially hazardous equipment and materials are stored and used, such as in science, technology and PE departments. You also need to ensure that fire alarms, fire exits and muster points are clearly signposted and that every classroom and corridor has a sign which tells where the nearest fire exit, alarm and muster point is.

In addition to the health and safety signs that schools have an obligation to display, many schools require other forms of signage to ensure that their own rules are adequately displayed. Typical examples include, ‘Staff Only’, ‘No Entry’, ‘No Ball Games’ and ‘No Hot Food to be Taken Out’ signs. These signs may need to be installed both internally and externally.

Celebrate achievement and promoting events

One of the main ways schools celebrate achievement or promote events is by displaying a printed PVC vinyl banner near the entrance gate. This enables it to be seen by pupils, parents, visitors and anyone else who passes by. They are often used to proudly display, ‘Outstanding School’ or ‘Best Ever GCSE Results’. They are also used let people know about open evenings, school productions, summer fairs and other events. Available in any design and in a wide range of sizes and shapes, promotional banners are a great way to make a big impact on a small budget.

Promoting core values and brand

Many schools promote their core values by creating a highly visual representation of key words which is put on show in a prominent place. To emphasise their importance to the school, the values, such as humility, compassion, integrity, courage and determination are made into large displays, often featuring the colours and corporate typeface of the school.

Signage is one of the best ways to display these words. For example, they can be hung in the main entrance as a series of floor to ceiling vertical banners, they can be printed onto large flags, created using stunning flat cut or 3D built-up letters on specially designed backgrounds. They can even be illuminated.

Whilst instilling your values is critical inside your school, externally, it is important to promote the school’s brand. As 70% of business customers believe the quality of a store’s sign reflects the quality of its products, it’s just as feasible that a similar number of people believe a school’s sign reflects the quality of its education. If a school wants to be proud of its brand and wants to attract new students and the best staff, it’s crucial, therefore, to have a school sign that does a good job.

There is a wide range of choices for external school signs, though monolith signs are very popular because they can be created to feature important branding symbols like your school logo, motto, typeface and colours. They are also glossy and professional looking whilst being hardwearing and durable.

Summing up

Great signage can help schools in a variety of ways, reducing lost learning time, helping pupils to stay safe, letting the local community know about your achievements and events, and for promoting your core values and school brand. For each of these, there are different types of sign that can be chosen, giving you a choice that is best for your purposes and your budget.
For more information about the signs available, check out our product range.

(0)

Do Your Health and Safety Signs Meet Regulations?

If you run a business, you have an obligation to use health and safety signs, where necessary, to keep employees safe whilst on your premises. In this post, we’ll look at what your responsibilities are and show you how to use signs to stay compliant with EU directives and UK law.

When do you need a health and safety sign?

Current regulations require employers to make sure that health and safety signs are in place and maintained in situations where there is “a significant risk to health and safety that has not been removed or controlled by other methods.” At the same time, a sign is only required when it has the potential to reduce the risk.

How to find out if a sign is needed?

In order to work out if safety signs are needed, you will first need to carry out a risk assessment. This is required under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The outcome of the risk assessment will identify any hazards, the risks associated with them and the control measures which must be implemented to protect people.

If, after those control measures have been put in place, there are still significant risks that employees need to be aware of, signs must be used to warn them. Do note, however, that a sign cannot be used as a replacement for a safety control.

Fire signs

Some fire signs are operated under separate legislation, so, even if they are not needed for health and safety hazards, they may still be required for other purposes, for example, showing the nearest evacuation exits or the location of fire alarms and extinguishers. Check with your local fire service that you are following procedures correctly.

What is a safety sign?

A health and safety sign is a sign that provides information or instructions about health or safety. Varieties of signs include a signboard (e.g. a sign on a wall), an acoustic signal (fire alarm), a colour (red for danger) or an illuminated sign. They also include verbal instructions and hand signals.

A signboard is one of the most common forms of health and safety sign. It provides information by using colours, shapes, symbols and pictures and, in many instances, is accompanied by text. Signboards are used for a variety of purposes, these include:

  • prohibition signs, e.g. no entry
  • warning signs, e.g. danger: slippery surface
  • mandatory signs, e.g. eye protection must be worn
  • emergency signs, e.g. emergency exit

 

How signs should be used

Signs should be placed where they are most appropriate and where they are easily visible, for example, at the entrance to a room where there is a hazard or near a hazardous piece of machinery. If an employee’s vision is restricted because of their work or protective clothing, additional measures need to be implemented, such as adding a warning sound or by illuminating the sign.
To ensure that all signs are clear and legible and that people can quickly learn their meaning, regulations now require businesses to use standardised signs that are common across the EU. Although there might be slight differences in design, the intention is that whichever EU country they are used in, all EU nationals will know what the signs mean, even if the text underneath is written in a foreign language. This means that companies can no longer place homemade signs on their premises unless they conform with EU regulations.

Sign Maintenance

Under EU regulations, employers have a duty to ensure that all health and safety signs are properly maintained so that they can continue to carry out their function. For signboards, this means they need to be routinely cleaned to prevent their instructions being covered by dirt or dust and that they are not covered or hidden behind by pieces of equipment left by employees.
At the same time, signs need to continue protecting employees in the event of a power failure, for this reason, either emergency lighting should be installed or the signs need to be made from phosphorescent material. This requirement does not apply if a power failure removes the hazard.

What makes a good signboard?

In order to fulfil their function and adequately protect employees, signboards should be appropriately large and clear enough to be seen and understood. The size needed will depend on the distance over which the sign needs to be viewed.

As most signboards are needed on a permanent basis, they need to be durable and long-lasting. They should be able to withstand occasional bangs and scrapes and resist fading in sunlight. In addition, they need to be securely positioned so that they do not become loose or displaced.

Summing up

If you are an employer, hopefully, this post will have given you a better understanding of your obligations when it comes to using health and safety signs in your workplace. You should know what those regulations are, what kinds of signs you need to use and how to use and maintain them.

If you require signage that will help you comply with regulations, check out our range of health and safety signs. We provide signs in a vast range of sizes, materials and messages for use in businesses, construction sites, schools and public buildings. We also provide information signs for everything from washroom hygiene to dog walking and smoking.

(0)