Road Caution Signs and the Rules of the Road
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) is the standard used for all public street signs in the United States. The MUTCD insures that signs use the right colors, shapes, and sizes to notify drivers and pedestrians of traffic rules and hazards.
Diamond shaped yellow road signs are specifically made this way to display the warnings. Yellow is the official color of caution or warning, and the diamond shape is also reserved only for warning signs. These yellow road signs are made to alert you of a specific hazard, such as a dead end, merging lane, or stop ahead.
Yellow road signs are highly visible, and explain to you why you should slow down and proceed with caution.
Pedestrian crossing signs are the most commonly seen yellow road signs. Deer crossing symbols, farm machinery like tractors, and fire trucks are also often found on these road caution signs, alerting drivers to these potential road hazards.
April is Injury Prevention Month
Slip Caution Signs
The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons is sponsoring April’s Injury Prevention Month. This is an opportunity to focus on safety at work, home, and on the go. OSHA reports that there are almost 3 million injuries yearly at the workplace. These injuries are from a range of hazards including improper repetitive motion or posture to serious injury such as falls.
If you look around a factory or warehouse, you will see many common caution signs warning you of danger. These caution signs alert workers of pinch and crush hazards, fall hazards, and slips and trips. These are some of the most common injuries at the workplace, and all can be prevented.
Pinch and crush caution signs look different for specific hazards. These injuries often occur during maintenance of machinery, when workers could be near pistons or stamping mechanisms. Caution signs and lockout tags alert workers in two ways: by reminding those working to power down the machines and by warning other workers that the machines are down with people near dangerous parts. Caution signs and labels on machines also alert workers of smaller moving parts that could pinch or crush while the machine is running.
Slip and fall caution signs are the most common caution sign that you would see – especially on a rainy day. Slip caution signs can be posted on walls, or made into floor signs or cones to let you know that the floor has recently been mopped or that something has spilled. A fall warning sign tells workers on platforms and rafters that a gap is present, and if not careful of their surroundings, a serious injury from the fall could occur.
There are many things that we can do this month to help prevent injuries, and a good first step would be to post and read caution signs alerting us of danger.
Common Safety and Caution Signs
If you’ve ever been in a high school chemistry lab or visited an industrial work-site then you have probably seen caution signs with special symbols informing you of safety precautions that you should take. Many of these signs display information about personal protection equipment – when to wear goggles, gloves, or hard hats. Others tell you about potentially hazardous situations that you should be cautious to avoid.
Caution signs and symbols like these are mandated to have a bright yellow background with black lettering. Their symbols serve two purposes: to give a visual description of the hazard, and to create contrast from other materials that are of a lower priority for safety.
Symbols on caution signs include:
- Exclamation Points
- Biohazard Symbols
- Radiation Symbols
- Images of People Subjected to the Potential Hazard
There are many types of caution signs and symbols, and not all caution signs have symbols on them. There can be signs for security entrances, slippery floors, and much more.
What are ANSI Compliant Signs?
Many caution signs and safety signs are ANSI compliant, but what does that mean, and who is ANSI?
ANSI Caution Label
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) was founded in 1918 as a private, not for profit organization for the guidance in formation, announcement and use of business safety standards. There are over 125,000 companies that are members of ANSI.
Due to overseeing one broad standard across industries, ANSI compliant caution signs can be recognized in any working environment, which widens general workplace safety as a whole. ANSI codes on computers are another example of the widespread effect that ANSI compliance has on everyday life.
ANSI Z535 is a standard in America that is used for safety signs and other postings that display accident prevention information. ANSI Z535 compliant signs and labels can meet six individual standards such as ANSI Z535.4, which is the American National Standard for Product Safety Signs and Labels.
You might even be used to seeing ANSI Z535 compliant signs and you don’t even know it! Signs that display words like Caution, Danger, Warning, or Notice are typically compliant with the American National Standards Institute. For more information about the signs and standards, visit ANSI’s homepage.
Remember, Caution Signs are only used when Minor to Moderate physical injury is possible, or when damage to property is possible. When there is a more serious possible threat, such as Major or Life Threatening injuries, Danger Signs should be used instead. These are examples of ANSI Construction Site Caution Signs:
OSHA Caution Sign Standards are a little different, here are some examples:
When to use a Caution Sign: