Wet Floor Sign l Dual Side Wet Floor Sign
Signage is a means to convey critical messages at a glance. With the different symbols, colours and graphical images, they provide hazard warnings that are essential for the workplace. Common colours you’re likely familiar with include:
- Red – Usually used to indicate a prohibition, informing the target audience to stop movement in that direction, or a dangerous behaviour that’s not permitted on the premises. It’s also used to indicate fire alarm call points and fire fighting equipment.
- Yellow – This is cautionary, warning the persons on the premises to take extra care as they move around.
- Blue – It typically shows that a certain action is mandatory, such as wearing personal protective equipment.
- Green – The green signs are usually used on doors, and escape routes to indicate emergency exits that people can take to return to a safe place as they wait for normalcy to resume.
In addition to the signs, barrier tapes can also be used, cordoning off the various locations as needed. Here, we’ll focus on wet floor signs, and the value they bring.
When the floor gets wet
There are different situations where the floor gets wet, causing the surface to become slippery. From the recently mopped floors, to spills in supermarkets from flower buckets – they are a common occurrence. It’s not just water that’s a culprit. Liquids like oil on the can also lead to a slip accident. For the cleaning chemicals used on the different surfaces, from office spaces to commercial kitchens there can be some residue that was left behind, which would mean that the top layer of the floor would be slippery, and the residue would need to be cleaned off.
Restaurants, pubs and cafes are particularly notorious for beverage spills, and these need to be mopped up quickly. This also extends to fast food outlets and other takeaways. Leaking roofs are also a concern. In such a scenario, water gets into the building, especially after a heavy downpour, creating a slip hazard. Containers can leak as well, such as oil vats. Depending on the industry, there will be different protocols used for dealing with the leaking containers, especially those where the liquid itself is hazardous. Burst pipes, on the other hand, flood the affected area, and an intensive clean-up job will be required to deal with the situation.
There are also cases where the floor material texture changes, becoming more slippery when wet. This is usually seen with some of the tiling finishes. This, coupled with improper footwear, can lead to a high frequency of fall accidents.
Different injuries can result from the slip and fall accidents. These include:
- Head injuries – when one slips and heavily lands on the back, the head can snap backwards and hit the floor. It can result in cuts or abrasions, and even cases of concussions. Traumatic brain injuries can also result. While there is protective fluid in the skull that surrounds the brain, cushioning it from making contact with the skull, the sudden motion from the slip and fall accident can cause that contact to be made anyway. Symptoms like brief loss of consciousness, headaches, sensitivity to light or sound, sleep disturbances, difficulty in concentrating, convulsions, seizures, slurred speech – these will be a pointer to the severity of the accident. If the individual involved in the accident experiences these symptoms, urgent medical attention is required. The treatment can range from prescribed bed rest and over-the-counter-drugs to deal with the pain, all through to intensive therapies especially where core functions of the brain, such as speech and motor functions, have been compromised due to the accident. Occupational therapy for the affected employees to be able to get back to work, speech and language therapy to enable them communicate, physical therapy when the motor skills are affected, all through to psychiatric therapy in order for the individual to retain their personal relationships and social support network – the required approach will all depend on the impact of the slip and fall accident.
- Back injury – A severe fall can result in the spine getting damaged, and the injuries sustained here may require surgery to resolve. The compensation claims will also stretch to cover ‘nuisance’ injuries arising from the accident, such as chronic pain that extend long after the incident.
- Shoulder injuries – An individual may sustain factures to the shoulder after a slip accident. That’s common when there is impact with hard objects – and that includes wet floors. These can in turn be tied to neck injuries, which may even impact the breathing.
- Pelvic injuries – A common injury here is a broken hip. This can range from a fracture where the affected individual is expected to recover fully, to extensive fractures that cause intolerable pain, and may even lead to the spine getting affected.
- Broken wrist – When falling, one instinctively puts out their arms to break the fall. While this protects the rest of the body – the head, face, and back from injury, it places the force of impact on the hands. This can lead to a wrist fracture. Wrist joints are particularly vulnerable during falls because of getting twisted in the process. The force of the fall, coupled with the pressure exerted by the body weight, adds to the strain on the wrist. Broken wrists can lead to different complications. For instance, there can be nerve damage due to the bone fragments from the wrist severing nerves that are in the hand, which can affect the feeling in the fingers and palms; there may bleeding or numbness of the hand if there are blood vessels that have been severed during the incident. In addition, the broken bones lead to an increase in the risk of osteoarthritis, especially when the breakage is at a joint.
- Knee injury – This ranges from bruises or twisted knees, to fractures in the kneecap. The recovery can take several weeks, and some injuries will require surgery to rectify, which will push the cost of the compensation higher.
As a business owner, you have a duty to ensure that your premises is safe for both your customers and employees. A slippery floor that doesn’t have warning signs will easily lead to accidents, racking up the medical expenses. It is vital to include the wet floor signs as part of your cleaning program for a number of reasons:
- Customer safety
You don’t want your business premises being a hazard for your customers. When they come to purchase your goods or services, they shouldn’t find themselves with nasty injuries from slip and fall accidents that would have easily been avoided by strategically positioning the wet floor signs. On the other hand, when they see that you prioritise safety by ensuring that the right measures are in place, their confidence in your business brand and operations will go a notch higher.
Remember that news spreads fast in this digital age. Reports of accidents at the business premises because of safety measures being ignored will be quickly shared within the various social media channels, negatively affecting your brand. That is not a situation you want to find yourself in. Safeguard your customers by ensuring that they have a safe environment when they come to your business premises.
- Employee morale
When one leaves for work in the morning, they don’t want to come home with injuries. Getting a call from your loved one that they have been rushed to the hospital due to an accident at the workplace is not a pleasant experience. Providing a safe working environment is critical., and this covers all industries. Given that your employees are the engine that drives your business, you want them to feel safe and cared for. A hazardous working environment will dampen their morale, while the proper safety measures being put in place will show them that you are concerned about their wellbeing.
Incorporating safety measures at the workplace also contributes to reducing workplace stress. A majority of the health concerns affecting employees revolve around their busy schedules, complete with the long hours, work pressure, and the occasional conflicts that occur with their colleagues and management. This affects both their personal and professional lives. So instead of allowing things to get out of hand, take active steps that will improve the working environment, and this includes instituting safety protocols when the routine cleaning and maintenance tasks are being carried out.
- Increase awareness about the surroundings
Many of the clients and employees typically don’t concern themselves with the surrounding hazards. However, with the wet floor signs in place, pointing out the risky areas, they will take precaution as they navigate the affected area, reducing the risk involved.
- Minimise down-time
Employee absenteeism costs business billions annually. With the employees missing work due to the accidents, it affects your operations. Aspects from service delivery to the clients to the growth of the business itself, are negatively affected. Yet this can be minimised by prioritising workplace safety. Proper safety protocols in place also have the added advantage of reducing employee insurance claims. This in turn reduces the impact on the company’s bottom line.
- Avoid costly lawsuits
Slip and fall accidents in the workplace are costly to the business owner. When it is established to be a case of negligence on the owner’s part, they are forced to fork out loads of cash to compensate the victim. Some of the common claims regarding accidents on wet floors are those where there was a spillage that was not cleaned up, a leaking pipe in the facility, leakages from the freezer unit, or the wet floor signs not being put in place by the cleaners as they carried out the mopping. Note that in these scenarios, the responsibility of safety is on the business owner. On the other hand, if the customer or employee falls after running about, or they jump from a high step onto the ground, they won’t be able to claim the personal injury compensation.
The amounts in the claims will depend on the severity of the injury. Take the case of one Essex teacher for instance. He slipped on a ketchup sachet that was on the school corridor, and was awarded a £230,000 settlement. Why the large figure? Well, due to the slip, he sustained injuries that caused him to miss work for some time. It also led to him having nuisance injuries, such as those occasional moments of pain. Why did he win the case? He presented a strong argument showing that the school had breached its duty of care to him – which had been caused by cutbacks that meant that there weren’t sufficient cleaning staff on the premises to maintain the different sections of the school, and consequently hazards on the floor were not dealt with effectively. This led to the slip and fall accident, with the teacher getting injuries in his knee, leg and arm.
There are cases when the responsibility is shared between the parties involved – what’s referred to as split liability. For instance, in nightclubs where there’s plenty of drinking and partying going on, some of the revellers can slip and fall while being drunk or tipsy. However, the accident may have been due to a spillage on the floor, or a barstool that was knocked over and ignored by the employees. Here, was the reveller sober, they would likely have been more careful around the area. On the other hand, if the hazard wasn’t there, there wouldn’t have been a slip in the first place. Both sides are considered when looking at how liable the parties involved in the accident are.
Creating A Safer Workspace
This cuts across the board, since you want to ensure that the premises is safe all through. Here are steps you can take:
- Start by identifying the hazards
Having a workplace safety analysis checklist will go a long way in assessing risks and planning accordingly. This involves examining the equipment that is used by your personnel as they go about their daily tasks, as well as the dangers that come with operating the equipment; the environmental conditions that increase risk of accidents and injury; all through to assessing the normal employee behaviour, to find out if there are unnecessary risks being created – such as failing to reposition wet floor signs that have been knocked over.
After identifying the workplace hazards, the employees need to be educated about the dangers. Tracking the workplace injury statistics for your business premises, plus the resultant costs, will enable you to make well-informed decisions.
- Set up a workplace safety training program for your business
Ensuring that the premises is safe will need collaborative action. From the cleaning and maintenance crew, to the employees engaging the clients, team effort is needed to ensure that you succeed in making the workplace safer. This includes educating the employees about the on-job risks, and how to address them. For instance, how will they respond to accidents? This can range from the occasional spills where the wet floor signs will be positioned and the spills mopped up, all through to emergency scenarios that require subsequent investigations to be conducted. Basic first aid lessons are also advised, since it gives them tips to help the employees address workplace injuries quickly to minimise the impact on the affected person. It’s also important to keep the workplace schedule up to date, to ensure that the employees have the information and skills needed to deal with the on-job emergencies and emerging threats.
- Get the required gear
Wet floor signs are just part of the safety equipment needed in the business premises. The company needs to invest in safety items like fire extinguishers, first aid kits, goggles, and even gloves, especially for establishments where there is a risk of contaminants being handled. Better safe than sorry, right? As such, you’d rather err on the side of caution, as opposed to having an emergency and lacking the equipment needed to handle it.
- Ensure emergency exits are clear
Situations where it has been so long since an emergency, that the area heading to the exit was used as partial storage, are hazardous. In case of an emergency, the employees and customers will need to evacuate the building quickly, and this will be difficult when there is a problem with the exits. Ensure that they are regularly inspected, and functioning well, especially the doors.
- Keep the employees active
No, this does not mean overloading them with more duties. The sedentary work lives, especially those where the workers remain seated at their desks all day, makes them susceptible to long-term health issues like heart disease and troubles with their muscular system. Encouraging your employees to be active will keep them healthy and productive. Giving them regular breaks within the day, where they can move around the building and stretch, hosting meetings in different locations which will mean that the staff will need to get up and walk to the meeting locations – such simple measures will aid in enhancing the work culture.
Remember to have an open and candid conversation with your employees about aspects in the premises that may be causing them stress. After all, the workplace is basically their second home, where they spend a significant portion of their lives. You don’t want the environment to be stressful, as this will negatively impact on their personal lives and productivity at the workplace. Hold regular meetings with the employees and identify the workplace stresses. When management and the employees work together in this way, it helps in alleviating the concern. With proper collaboration, mistakes that could lead to costly lawsuits can be avoided. For instance, the janitorial team may have set up the wet floor signs after cleaning the floor, but due to the busy nature of the premises, one of the signs got knocked over. Instead of having to wait for the janitorial team who may even be on another floor, the employees nearby who notice this will put the sign back into position. This team-approach where they have each other’s backs is also beneficial for workplace culture.
It’s also important to provide the employees with consistent support. For instance, encouraging the employees to open up to their superiors about their workplace concerns without fear of being victimised will make them feel well cared for. In fact, given that the employees are on ground for longer than management, they are in a position to quickly identify problems, and this can be relayed to management so that the issue can be resolved.
With each of the safety gear, there are different aspects to factor in to ensure that they are effective. Let’s zero in on issues that are tied to wet floor signs.
Selecting The Right Wet Floor Signs
So, what do you consider when buying wet floor signs? Various factors come into focus, and will largely depend on the mode of application. Here are issues that should weigh in when making the selection:
Colour of the signs
With the goal being to grab the attention of the target audience, the wet floor sign should have a bold colour that easily sticks out from the surrounding. Wet floor signs are predominantly yellow. This indicates caution and physical danger, and it will be easy for the people in the facility to notice the sign as they go about their tasks.
The colour of the writings on the wet floor signs also matters. Here, you want the characters to be legible, and as such they should contrast with the background colour of the sign. This is why you will mainly see wet floor signs with black writing.
The purpose of communication is to pass a message that will be understood. Having a warning sign in a language that is not spoken by many people in the facility will be counterproductive. The wet floor signs come in different languages, so ensure that you pick one that suits your target audience. If needed, you can go for the multilingual signs. Just ensure that the signage has not been crowded out with words, as this will reduce the effectiveness of the item. After all, these signs are simply glanced at. You don’t want to force for the persons in the premises to keep standing to read a whole bunch of text on the warning signs – in fact this would be a turn-off.
Icons and images used
In addition to the actual wording, images on the wet floor signs will add to their effectiveness. It is far much easier to comprehend that a floor is slippery when there is an image of a man slipping on the sign. What’s more, these makes the warning signs easy to quickly grasp, even for the kids in the facility.
Type of sign
They come in various designs, and your choice here will be based on factors such as the desired stability and the amount of storage space available. The three common types of signs include:
- Collapsible wet floor signs: These usually come with their storage tubes, and are popular for allowing easy access in multiple locations. However, their short and light size makes them more prone to being knocked around and overlooked.
- Plastic tent signs: Their larger size allows them to be visible from a further distance, and you an even store them behind large items to save on space.
- Cone signs: These are large and stable, but will need more storage space.
Setting The Wet Floor Signs
Having the signage is one thing, using it appropriately is another. The purpose of the wet floor signs is to notify people about the hazard, for them to take evasive action. However, if the sign is not visible, facing the wrong direction, or only partially visible to people in one direction, then accidents can still result. Determining the location of the sign is thus a core part of the process. Two key factors need to be observed:
- The sign should be visible from all directions
Here, the positioning will depend on the physical characteristics of the building. However, it is imperative that the persons walking towards the wet area can see the sign clearly before reaching that point. If it’s around corners, you can even set up multiple warning signs, that way people approaching the spot from the different directions will be able to take note of the risk.
- Safe location
The last thing you want is your wet floor sign becoming a trip hazard. For instance, positioning the signage right at the door opening will easily trip people over, turning the well-intentioned sign into a liability for your business. Walls, stairways and merchandise displays are some of the locations where placing the signs can cause them to lead to more accidents. Ensure that people can actually see the signs for a sufficient distance before getting to it, so as not to trip on the item.
It’s also important to ensure that the wet floor signs are properly positioned all through the time that the risk remains – thus the emphasis on having stable signs, and checking on them regularly. Take the case of one lady in Jack Casino, who won a compensation claim case and was awarded $3 million, for instance. Here, the company employees had actually placed the wet floor sign in position. However, it was knocked over by customers on the premises. An employee of the casino walking around the spot didn’t pick it up and reposition it. The lady tripped over the sign, suffering a broken knee cap in the process. She had to get metal hardware for her knee, and as a result her mobility has been compromised. What’s more, she was already suffering from arthritis at the site of the fracture. The casino was fined for disregarding the customer’s safety, leading to the huge charge.
The unused wet floor signs should be safely stored out of sign, but still easily accessible. This is especially for areas that are notorious for having frequent spills. These are the likes of beverage stations, water fountains, the restrooms, and at the ice machine. Having the wet floor signs nearby will enable you to quickly set them up and warn people of the hazard before arranging to have the spills cleaned up.
When More Is Needed
During cleaning, the wet floor sign will suffice until the floor dries. However, in some cases, you can’t stop at just erecting the signs. This is typically seen in claims being made due to supermarket and grocery store accidents. For instance, there may be a leakage with the freezer unit in the establishment. The employees put in place the wet floor signs, covering themselves from liability. However, if they simply leave the sign there and don’t make arrangements to have the issue fixed, causing the freezer to keep leaking for weeks, the signs that have been set up will end up being redundant. In case of an accident, the business owner will be held liable for not removing the known hazard within a reasonable time frame.
Extra Tips for Using Wet Floor Signs
- Adding a humorous message to the sign can help with enhancing the vibe of your business, and bring a light touch to the space. Having a customised message written on the sign also gives you the flexibility to include an aspect that is unique to your brand. Just remember that you shouldn’t include so many words. It should be short and sweet.
- Ensure that the wet floor signs are removed whenever the danger dissipates. This is to maintain their relevance in the facility. For instance, leaving the signs on the floor long after it has dried will make those in the facility disregard it over time. Then later on, when the floor will actually be wet, they won’t believe the signs that have been set up, and it will increase the risk of accidents occurring.
- Regularly inspect the storage locations of the wet floor signs, and the state of the signs themselves, to ensure that they are in good condition, and readily available to use as needed.
Wet Floor Sign