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Safety First or Third? Mike Rowe Says Third; How Can Safety Signs Help?

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We’ve all heard “safety first.” It’s drummed in our heads from an early age, on the playground, in the classroom, then later on the job and even as we drive on the highways. However, the idea that safety is first doesn’t sit well with Mike Rowe, the former host of the Discovery Channel series “Dirty Jobs.” When the term “safety first” is uttered, it’s usually in relation to being compliant with some sort of standard.

On Mike’s blog titled “Profoundly Disconnected,” Rowe says, “…the whole ‘Safety First’ mentality might be having a counter-intuitive effect. Moreover, it struck me that on-the-job safety, for all it’s critical importance, is never really ‘first.'” Ultimately, Rowe is saying that being in OSHA compliance is a good thing, but just because a company or a worker is complying with safety standards doesn’t mean that danger is no longer present.

OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an agency under the United States Department of Labor. It was created when President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health act into law in late 1970. The law gives the agency powers to create safety regulations in the workplace, and to enforce those regulations. “Compliance safety and health officers” perform the enforcement. They are tasked with conducting workplace inspections of hazardous job sites and issue fines when safety violations are discovered.

According to Rowe, safety rules such as those concocted by OSHA are third most important to a business, i.e. safety is third, rather than first. What comes before safety for Rowe? In his blog, he says getting the job done and making money are both more important than safety – to the business, that is. Rowe says if a business says otherwise, it’s disingenuous. However, Rowe says he’s not denigrating the importance of safety measures and OSHA compliance; rather he’s suggesting that the best person in charge of personal safety is that individual.

Safety signs are a key element in OSHA standards; what better way to make sure a worker is aware of hazards than by posting a sign making that worker is aware of the threat? For workers to take charge of personal safety, signs need directives rather than platitudes. Think about a stop sign. It doesn’t try to make drivers feel good to stop at intersections; it tells them to stop.

Speaking of stop signs, “Mental Floss” (2014) wrote that the stop sign has eight sides due to the level of danger present. In 1923 in Mississippi, the state’s highway department came up with the idea of using the number of sides on a sign to denote the level of risk on the road. The more sides a sign has, the more risk there is present on the road.

The Mississippi Highway Department decided that informational signs should be rectangular. A diamond-shaped sign, likewise with four sides, would also denote the less dangerous threats. Next were stop signs, with eight sides, and beyond that was the railroad crossing sign – a circle, with infinite sides, denotes a high level of danger.

As a result, people know what these signs mean. Road signs are great examples of safety signs. The consequences of running a stop sign are obvious. However, in the workplace, a sign explaining the virtues of safety will fail to carry the same weight in message. In a perfect world, employers will comply with OSHA sign standards on the job site, and the signs will offer clear and concise directives. This will influence the employees to do as Mike Rowe suggests and take responsibility for their personal safety.
References

(7 August 2014). “Why Do Stop Signs Have Eight Sides?” Mental Floss. Retrieved from http://mentalfloss.com/article/56877/why-do-stop-signs-have-eight-sides. Retrieved on 12 September 2014
Rowe, M. (1 March 2009). “The Only One Responsible for My Own Safety is Me.” Profoundly Disconnected. MRW. Retrieved from http://profoundlydisconnected.com/the-only-one-responsible-for-my-own-safety-is-me/. Retrieved on 12 September 2014.
(11 August 2014). “Off The Wall: Safety Third Conversation Continues.” Profoundly Disconnected. MRW. Retrieved from http://profoundlydisconnected.com/off-the-wall-safety-third-conversation-continues/. Retrieved on 12 September 2014.

How Often Should Advertising Signs be Changed?

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Signs with easily changeable content are a must for businesses seeking to inform potential customers of what they have to offer. However, sometimes this advertising tool is not used to its full potential. If the content of the sign is outdated, it may be misleading and could confuse customers.

According to Tom Dalton, owner of Signs Direct, content should be changed often; either daily for the best results or seasonally if you don’t have enough content to go around. But the frequency with which you change content also depends on the type of business.

“Some businesses have more to say,” Dalton says. “Restaurants should have a constant flow of content. They can advertise daily lunch specials and deals regularly.”

One idea he suggests is to purchase a handful of different signs and rotate them weekly to save money on printing, or leave an area for a dry erase board to write a daily special. Mechanics and other auto service businesses could also have several different signs and rotate them on slow days, advertising offers like – “Free Car Wash With Oil Change.” Bars and venues that host event nights and entertainment can advertise daily drink specials and weekly events like “Karaoke Night” or “Live Music”. Clothing and other retail stores could use different signs for every holiday and seasonal promotion.

Consumers are more likely to read content that is changed with some frequency than a static sign that has been in the same spot with the same graphics for the past 10 years. Dalton says it’s important to refrain from letting your advertising signs become ornamentation and not something that contains current information. They should contain current, useful, actionable information.

Other types of signs, like those used for establishing an identity or signs that are directional, do not need to be changed nearly as often. Examples are things like the logo on a door or a lighted pylon sign out by the street. These can remain the same for a decade or more, Dalton says.

Eventually, these signs should also be updated to give the business a fresh, new look and attract new customers, but not as often as advertising signs. Business owners can reference how often major companies change these types of signs, which is usually in accordance with design trends of the current time and as new technology becomes available.

“If you look up a WalMart logo timeline, you’ll get a sense about how often those high dollar identity signs should be updated,” Dalton says.

Overall, business owners should assure that their signs are fresh and up to date. Content should match the products and offers that are currently available and should reflect the business for which they are advertising.  If the content of your advertising signs rarely changes, customers will catch on and stop reading them which will decrease the advertising sign’s effectiveness as a tool to increase sales.

Signs Direct offers a large variety of signs includingsafety signs, lighted signs, custom signs, sidewalk sign stands, POP sign stands and other sign components. For more information, or to order call 877-706-4601 or email sales@signsdirect.com.

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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Are Sidewalk Signs a Cost-effective Form of Advertising?

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From restaurants to coffee shops, sidewalk signs (typically in the form of an A-Frame sign) are most commonly used in urban environments where foot-traffic is heavy. The inexpensive cost, portability, and customization make them the go-to form of advertising in many cases, and an effective way of attracting people to your business.

Cost

When compared to other methods of advertising (such as newspaper), A-Frame signs are extremely cost effective. The average cost of an A-Frame sign is about $150 ($75 for the stand and another $75 for printed sign panels). You can re-use and customize your sign with a variety of messages as needed and display it for as long as needed.

Portability

During business hours, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, bakeries, bars and other storefront retailers who attract pedestrian traffic prefer to use A-Frame signs. Freestanding, A-Frame signs are sturdy, yet easily portable and can be repositioned as needed. They can be taken indoors after business hours and once collapsed, they can be conveniently stored in spare closet space or simply leaned against a wall. The sign sizes range from 18”x24 all the way up to 28 x 44”, but 24” x 36” is by far the most common.

Customization

Whereas a newspaper advertisement and other types of signs display content in a constrained format, A-Frames can be highly customizable to reflect the creative flare of your business. Signs can be used to advertise along the roadside or sidewalk and can be a colorful and artistic way of capturing people’s attention. Options include interchangeable lettering, dry-erase boards, and chalk boards.

Choose what you want people to see on a daily basis. Use them to announce sales, promote daily meal specials, and convey any message your business may wish to present. Best of all, freestanding signs and A-frames have large display areas to ensure that your message will be prominently displayed.

Alternative Uses

Apart from conventional urban use, A-Frame signs are also used within many other settings, including large chain companies like Best Buy and Walgreens. The timeless and recognizable piece can add to the look of any entrance or storefront.

How to order

Signs Direct is a leading manufacturer of signs and offers a large variety of products including parking signs, safety signs, lighted signs, custom signs, and other sign components. For more information, or to order call 877-706-4601 or email sales@signsdirect.com.

Tom Dalton

I first started making signs back in the early 90's. On January first 2000 I started Signs Direct as an online company specializing in making sign purchases easy and economical. Signs Direct, Inc. specializes in traffic and parking signs, customized neon signs, sign holders and sign stands, as well as banners and sign making materials.

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