Follow the Signs

Civil openerBy Al Feaster

Infrastructure repair, demolition projects, bridge and roadway restorations, residential renovations – the construction industry varies in jobs but the need for productivity and safety is consistent. With more than six million employees and $1 trillion worth of projects, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction site managers and employers should prioritize both productivity and safety, and proper labeling can get the job done.

With workers subject to the dangers of falling objects, slips and falls, electrocutions and power tool accidents, site managers should always encourage safe practices to prevent against these potential hazards. A construction site where efficient, protective measures such as proper signs and labeling are utilized is one way to ensure a safe and productive job site.

Where unsafe practices, danger or potential hazards exist, construction labels and signs which conform to OSHA’s ANSI Z535 standards should communicate the nature, consequences and avoidance of the hazard to minimize the chance of risks. These standards outline the required design, colors, symbols, placement, and word and text formatting to be used in conjunction with danger, warning and caution signs and labels in the industry.

Between scaffoldings, heavy machinery and holes in the ground, construction sites are of course demanding environments that are constantly changing. Visual labeling and communications on a job site can warn workers when to wear hard hats and safety vests, how to operate power tools and restricted areas to avoid if not properly equipped or trained. Many times safety is far from top of mind when laborers are focused on completing a job on time.

Site managers and employers are challenged not only with keeping employees safe, but also keeping workflow interruptions to a minimum. It’s necessary to ensure your employees are aware of their surroundings and alert them of any obstacles they pay attention to. As visual reminders and a way to provide streamlined messaging, labels can help ensure safety does not come at the cost of productivity.  

While labels can be used to identify hazards such as exposure to chemicals, raw materials and electrical wiring, they are just as important in providing general safety messages, procedures, instructions and maintenance information. Digital technology has made developing these custom communications easier to maintain a safe work environment.

Labeling for Productivity

Despite rapid improvements in technology over the past several decades, productivity on construction sites remains flat with little projected improvement. One reason for this projection is the lack of investments in technology employed on construction sites. Many companies continue to rely on manual spreadsheets and tracking systems for operational management.

Construction project managers may not be aware of technological advancements in this space. Industrial label devices now come equipped with innovative and advanced features that can show what labels will look like once applied and help eliminate mistakes. Built-in label applications and pre-loaded templates in line with OSHA standards also help expedite the label-making process.

From cable wires, pipe marking, safety signage, networking components and certification, a proper labeling system can assist with equipment identification and inventory management needs. Having an organized worksite is vital to success and profitability in construction. Tools and equipment are extremely valuable assets on any construction site, and the possibility of something getting misplaced is sure to disrupt workflow. Labels can help you track equipment and maintain control of your inventory, keeping employees productive and safe in the busiest environment.

Site managers should use quality devices and durable, industrial-strength labels, especially when on challenging surfaces and areas where labels tend to see a lot of wear and tear. On sites where there’s constant exposure to harsh environments that may lead to peeling and abrasion, use labels that will adhere securely and stay legible so they remain effective. When considering purchase of an industrial label maker, construction site managers should invest in a device and labels that can stand up to the toughest conditions.

In an industry that requires meticulousness and is subject to occupational hazards, construction managers and employers should not undermine the importance of labels to keeping a safe and productive workplace. Complying with regulations and the risk of your site failing safety inspections or tests can be stressful but not making sure your site is up-to-date is both costly and dangerous. Whether marking if a machine is not operating properly or identifying the date of last inspection, labeling should be part of your day-to-day routine. 

Proper labeling prevents workplace disruptions such as accidents, injuries and errors. Consider investing in in the right tools for employing labeling solutions on your site to save time and keep your workers out of harm’s way.

Al Feaster is a registered communications distribution designer and industrial labeling expert at DYMO. He has more than 30 years in the telecommunications industry and is responsible for training and supporting the DYMO team providing industry and technical information as it pertains to end-users, installers and manufacturers doing design, installation, training, engineering and management. 

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