Tips and Techniques for a Visual Workplace

When thinking about safety and efficiency in the work place it is important to look at it from a visual perspective.  In today’s world a facility no longer only has people who speak English fluently.  Many times people come in from other countries where English is their second language, or customers or suppliers come in from other countries for a tour.  With this in mind it is important to create a visual workplace which will allow people to understand the safety and efficiency messages even if they don’t speak English at all.

In many facilities it is important to use visual queues even for people who do speak and read the language well.  Most people can’t read a sign from across the room, but they can see what color it is and its shape.  This can be enough to get the message across very clearly without ever having to read one word.


free-floor-marking-guide-and-poster from Creative Safety SupplyOne of the most effective way to convey a message without using words is by color coding.  In most countries around the world people will understand that red means stop or danger, green means go or safe and yellow often means to use caution.  There are many different ways to use color in any facility to help quickly convey a message.  Using standard colors in signs and other things in a facility is essential for safety and can help contribute to the overall clarity of the area as well.


In addition to colors, the shapes of signs and other visual items can help people to understand their meaning very quickly as well.  When companies use floor tape arrows or foot prints it is obvious that it is instructing people to walk in a specific direction in that area.  Curved symbols can mean that there is a turn coming up.  There are dozens of different shapes which can be used to let people know what they should be doing or even areas which they should be avoiding.


The most important part of creating a visual workplace is to make sure you are following or setting standards for everything you do.  Some things like using red to indicate danger or to have people stop are universally recognized.  Others can be standards which you set for your facility.  If a particular company has multiple facilities than they should always use the same visual signs throughout the entire company.  In addition to having standards, it is essential that everyone who works or visits the area is aware of what these standards mean.

Providing everyone with the proper training is a great way to ensure that everyone knows what colors mean what, and where shapes are used to convey a message.  If you’re using other visual messaging techniques, these need to be covered in any training as well.  When everyone is aware of what all the different things in a visual workplace mean it will dramatically reduce the risk associated with working in the area.  It also helps everyone to understand what they should be doing which will increase the efficiency of a facility as well.


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