Irish Employers Given Safety Signs Update

The key change as outlined by the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland is separation of any explanatory text from the pictorial element in the sign.

The Health and Safety Authority of Ireland has posted a revised guidance document, "Safety Signs at a Place of Work 2010," telling employers what types of safety and warning signs are acceptable. The guidelines were changed, but the signage regulations have not been changed, because of an October 2009 decision by HSA's board.

The key change is separation of any explanatory text from the pictorial element in the sign. Text can be placed on a separate, adjacent sign or displayed beside the pictorial, but the two should not be combined. A single also should not convey two messages, so a sign indicating both protective eyewear and a hard hat are required would not be acceptable, according to the guidelines.

The regulations were enacted in 2007. Employers have until Jan. 1, 2011, to replace unacceptable signs. The guidance says prohibition signboards must be round, with black symbols and pictograms on a white background; warning signboards must be triangular, with black symbols and pictograms on a yellow background; mandatory signboards must be round, with white symbols and pictograms on a blue background; and emergency escape or first aid signboards must be rectangular or square, with white symbols and pictograms on a green background.

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