Choosing Attention Catching Safety Signage

Choosing Attention Catching Safety Signage

Staying in compliance with OSHA standards for safety messaging is hardly the most glamorous part of managing a business, but it is essential, especially for companies in the construction and industrial sectors.

On top of the required signs for compliance with posting requirements, you also need signs that provide adequate reminders of everyday safety precautions to help maintain a culture of safe equipment use, and those signs can easily blend into the background after a little while.

So what do you do?

Inject a Little Humor

Using familiar characters to present safety information in a relaxed and fun way can be the key to getting employees to read along casually. If they can laugh along with the educational materials, they’re even more likely to engage on their own and to read the material repeatedly, because it’s fun and it catches the eye in a space that’s mostly serious business.

That’s why Simpsons safety posters are so popular at job sites, warehouses, and factories. The characters are familiar and loved by most people, so their mannerisms and voices are easy to imagine. On top of that, the messaging is designed to fit the voice of the characters while fitting OSHA signage requirements.

The Simpsons safety poster
photo credit:

Rotate Signage Regularly

Even if you have the most engaging signs possible, people will eventually tune them out as they become more and more familiar. One way to offset this issue is to simply rotate the signs. The same signs in different locations can refresh the messaging, but it’s not always possible to find another good spot for a safety message, especially an important one.

Another option is to keep two or three variants on the same messaging, rotating seasonally so you have the same coverage all year but you’re still refreshing the look of the message often enough to keep eyes on it.

Keep Color and Contrast in Mind

As you pick out sign options, keep in mind the main goal is information presentation. The contrast between text and background should make it easy to read, and you’ll want to be sure the color scheme is not disorienting to those who have to concentrate to take in the whole message. Balancing the need to make the signage highly visible and the need to make it accessible is the key, which is why cartoon characters can be such a great choice.

Presenting information in a comic style format means having bounded space for statements as well as colorful areas, without a lot of clashing overrun between the two. It also accomplishes the goal without looking boxy or forced.

Funny workplace safety poster
photo credit: Kolya Miller / Flickr

Adding New Signs To Your Rotation

Often, your employees will have insight into the areas where safety seems to be an issue. Whether it’s because the PPE is not performing as expected or because they see people skipping required procedures when your supervisors don’t, they see how policies work on the floor.

If you’re wondering what to add to your safety signage and what will catch the attention of your workforce, bring in a team of trusted and seasoned workers with good safety records and ask for input on the next steps you’re going to take.

Cover photo credit: @colinberner via

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