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Improving workplace safety signs

New Jersey employers may know that major updates have been made to the traditional oval "DANGER" signs that are common throughout workplaces. The newer signs that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration encourages all workplaces to use have more in-depth information that could further reduce the risk of workplace injuries or fatalities.

Warning signs have changed significantly over the past several decades. In 1914, for example, arrow-style signs with the "DANGER" were used to point to potential hazards. In 1941, new hazard sign standards were put into place. Signs that comply with these standards are still commonly found throughout workplaces and other areas where hazards are present. The problem with these signs, however, are that they can only be understood by those who read English. Further, they do not actually help a person avoid the hazard. Finally, text-only signs can be missed as they tend to blend into the surroundings.

Since 1991, sign designs have been improving with the use of the latest advancements in risk communication technology. This means that signs are being designed with more graphics that catch the eye. Further, they are also including more text information with how to prevent an accident or an injury that could be caused by the hazard.

There are certain hazards that are unavoidable in certain workplaces. However, employers are responsible for ensuring that the hazards are properly signed to help prevent a job injury. If, however, a worker suffers a serious injury due to a hazard that was not properly signed or the signage was inadequate, he or she may be eligible to seek workers' compensation benefits. Depending on the severity of the injury, the benefits may cover the worker's medical costs and a portion of lost wages. An attorney might help with the preparation and submission of the claim.

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