Workplace safety posters can be a chore. Most people don’t like to read, which defeats their purpose. Additionally, companies make the mistake of placing posters on already-cluttered safety boards where they get lost in the shuffle. Thus, they become a waste of money and resources.
But if you have a solid workplace safety program in place, safety posters can be an excellent tool for emphasizing the talking points of your program. Here’s a list of tips to make your posters more effective.
Consider Their Placement
Placement is vital. For example, the production line isn’t a great place to hang a poster because employees aren’t allowed to “stand around.”
In addition, standing around on a busy production line poses a bevy of safety risks all on its own. Therefore, it’s prudent to put these posters in high-traffic areas where there’s a good chance they’ll be read. The following places are ideal for the placement of your posters:
- Busy hallways
- Near the time clock
Janet I. suggests on LinkedIn to hang them behind the toilet with a simple graphic and equally simple yet effective text. Why? People have the opportunity to be less distracted and actually read a work safety poster. The more straight to the point, the better. Overloading safety posters for work with convoluted wording and busy imagery can bog down the message you’re trying to get across.
Another unique placement idea to consider comes from Marcus G.: place your posters upside down. This will “improve your connection ratio.” Naturally, they’ll question why the poster is upside down, and it may intrigue them enough to stop and read it.
Rotate Them Every So Often
Leaving a poster in one spot for an extended period of time ensures that it’ll fade into the background. Your employees will stop noticing it. Hang your posters in new locations. Perhaps you could start with the bathrooms and work your way to the break rooms.
By rotating your safety posters, you’re making sure that the messaging reaches a new set of eyes. You can solidify the “life cycle” of your posters via your monthly safety meetings, but always err on the side of caution. If you feel it’s been up for too long, move it.
Of course, these differ from your standard labor law posters. Those updates aren’t decided by you.
Use Them as a Supplement
The main objective of the safety poster is to reinforce safety training. Don’t be afraid to use them as a supplemental tool for your team meetings. When your workers see a poster, they should remember a helpful tip they learned in a safety meeting or be reminded of a hazard they were told to avoid.
If you employ the use of safety posters in your meetings, be sure to have them posted in plain sight. Reference them throughout the meeting, and explain their messaging. It’s easier for people to absorb that message if there’s context provided for it.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has plenty of workplace safety posters for those who need them. This OSHA workplace poster about fall prevention is a useful starting point in terms of implementing posters into your team meetings. However, as mentioned later in this post, it may too easily be ignored for its lengthy content all in one post.
One Idea Per Poster
You’ve undoubtedly heard of the acronym K.I.S.S: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Now, this isn’t meant to insult, but merely serve as a reminder for when you’re using safety posters. Referring to the point above about bathroom signs and the OSHA poster, there should be only one message per poster.
For example, if your poster is about the importance of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) on the floor, just convey that. Your employees are more apt to commit that one idea to memory without the added confusion of reading multiple messages on one poster.
Make Your Workplace Safety Posters “Stand Out”
While it’s important to keep things simple, you can also make your posters entertaining or eye-catching. David D. mentions in a Slice LinkedIn discussion that relevant internet memes can be a great tool in this regard. Memes are humorous and topical. They can also keep your workers invested in the point presented and prevent your posters from going “stale.”
Employees may connect more with the posters if their participation is encouraged, too. As noted by Janet I. in the same LinkedIn discussion, consider asking your employees to make suggestions and/or design their own posters for your workplace. You can reward prizes for the best posters as well. This not only gets them involved in the process, but also encourages them to retain safety knowledge. Sometimes the best learning process is the hands-on approach.
Don’t Convey New Ideas
Learning can be an arduous and lengthy ordeal. Posters shouldn’t be utilized to convey new ideas. Again, they’re more supplementary—an echo of what’s already been taught. You can’t rely on them to teach new things.
In conclusion, workplace safety posters can be effective tools as long as you don’t succumb to common pitfalls when putting them to use. Keep them simple, rotate them when necessary, encourage your team members to be active participants, and place them where they’ll be seen.
How can I successfully implement new safety initiatives?
How do I get buy-in from management and workers?
What’s the best way to build trust and rapport?
Should EHS be a C-Suite position?
We explore these questions and more on the Safety Labs by Slice podcast. Check us out using the links below.