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Are Warning and Instructional Plates Effective Tools for Safety?

Updated on October 2, 2013
Warning and Instructional Plates
Warning and Instructional Plates | Source

One of the things most businesses focus on is safety awareness among their personnel. To ensure that everyone does try to keep safe within the facility, certain tools are used. One of the tools that is used to help increase safety awareness everywhere is the warning and instructional plate. Is this specific tool effective in keeping people away from harm? How can businesses ensure that these do what they are supposed to in terms of safety?

In a nutshell, this particular plate is usually made to be attached to machinery or equipment that poses a certain threat to life and limb. The main reason why these are used is to warn or inform people of proper usage, as well as tell them what might happen if these are misused. What is written on these plates is dependent on what people need to look out for, what they need to do to keep themselves safe and what kind of danger the machinery or equipment poses.

Danger Plate
Danger Plate

Determining the Danger Levels of Equipment with Warning and Instructional Plates

To help you further understand how these plates are used and where these are used, you should know what the different plate headers on these are supposed to mean. Different kinds of headers bring with it different levels of danger and knowing what each header denotes can tell you how high a risk of injury or death you might be in should you ignore what these plates tell you.

While not all warning and instructional plates do carry headers, it does help if you know what each one can mean. Here is what each of the more commonly used headers mean when used for such a reason as safety:

  • Danger – this is the header that warns of the highest level of risk present with whatever equipment, machinery or objects these are attached to. When you see a warning plate with the word Danger at the top, it means that misuse or carelessness around, on or in the item this is attached to can mean certain death or at the very least, very serious injury. Strict compliance with the instructions on this plate for your safety should be adhered to in order to prevent death or serious injuries.
  • Warning – this header is the next in line when it comes to the level of danger present with whatever this is attached to. The presence of this plate indicates that misuse, carelessness or neglect can result in possible death or major injuries. Care should also be taken when you see plates with this header and whatever instructions are on this plate for usage should be followed for your safety.
  • Caution – when plates with this header are attached to equipment or machinery, you should take care to avoid misusing or being careless around such items. Ignoring such a warning plate may result in minor injuries or moderate ones. Following instructions on these plates is also a must.
  • Notice – while this particular header is used to call the attention of people to the rules and instructions of use for what it is attached to, this does not necessarily mean that not following these instructions will be harmless. Damage to the equipment may result in the misuse or negligence of such a warning plate.

High Voltage Warning Plate
High Voltage Warning Plate

These four headers make up the most commonly used ones for warning and instructional plates. There are some plates that are made without headers though and these can still effectively keep people safe as long as the instructions or warnings on them are followed. As long as the messages on these plates are clear, easy to read and tell people of the dangers that come with not adhering to what these plates say, then plates without headers can still effectively keep people safe from danger.

When it comes to answering the question as to whether or not these are effective in keeping people safe from harm, this usually depends on a number of important factors. One of these factors is the safety program a company has in place, which includes not only the usage of these warning and instructional plates, but also the dissemination of information about what can happen if these plates are ignored. Only then can you really say that these plates are effective tools for safety.


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