Learn ways to reinforce OSHA’s Focus Four training with visual warnings and safety reminders for warehouses, work sites, and industrial facilities. While this training was originally designed for construction, Focus Four hazards—electrical, struck-by, falls, and caught-in—are found in many industrial workplaces and job sites. We review all four hazards and recommend visual cues for industrial locations to help improve awareness of risks and reduce injuries, downtime, and non-compliance fines.
Focus Four Hazard #1: Fall Hazards
The Focus Four training program by OSHA emphasizes fall prevention and safety because this hazard accounts for many construction fatalities. A “fall hazard” is defined by OSHA as anything that causes an employee to lose their balance, footing, or bodily support and results in a fall. A missing guardrail, a faulty ladder step, or a misplaced piece of scrap lumber are all hazards that employees should be trained to watch for and protect themselves against.
Suggested Fall Prevention Signage
While guardrails, safety nets, and personal fall arrest systems are physical lines of defense against fall hazards, visual cues improve awareness of risks and safety measures and remind employees to use proper gear.
- Fall protection is required at different heights based on the industry. To remove the guesswork from when to wear which gear, use fall prevention signage to clarify where harnesses and hard hats are needed and improve compliance with PPE requirements.
- Fall hazard signs reminding employees not to lean on railings or reach past guardrails can help promote safe behaviors.
- Maintaining a clean workplace is another way to reduce slips, trips, and falls in industrial facilities. Install 5S floor signs to organize the shop floor and eliminate miscellaneous clutter.
Focus Four Hazard #2: Electrical Hazards
The most common electrical injuries that employees face are shocks and burns/arc blasts which can result in fatal electrocutions and contribute to falls. Every work environment can benefit from improved training and visual cues around electrical hazards because most worksites rely on electric tools and powered equipment. Cluttered electrical areas provide insufficient space for maintenance workers who need to maintain a safe distance. Poorly marked utility and electrical lines don’t do enough to warn a construction worker against digging. Misusing electrical equipment or handling damaged power tools are additional sources of electrical accidents that may be prevented with training and reminders.
Visual Cues for Electrical Hazards
- Placing electrical hazard signs near panel boxes, equipment power sources, and battery charging stations warns employees to keep their distance from high-voltage areas.
- Our precut floor tape kits offer visual cues for electrical panel safety by calling attention to clearance zones and reminding employees of spaces that must remain unobstructed.
- Bright flagging tape identifies buried utility lines and other hazards, giving construction workers extra visibility to prevent contact while trenching.
- Improve compliance with Lockout/Tagout procedures for tools and equipment in need of repair by marking locations with LOTO repeat message floor tape: Label restricted areas as Do Not Use or Authorized Personnel to prevent employees from inadvertently re-energizing or using faulty equipment.
Focus Four Hazard #3: Struck-By Hazards
Struck-by hazards include any objects—vehicles, equipment, flying or falling objects or tools, and collapsing structures—that may strike and injure a person. Improper handling of materials or equipment, such as swinging a hammer with a loose head, overloading warehouse racking to the point of collapse, or unsafe forklift speeds in pedestrian areas, can lead to these contact accidents. Due to the force of these collisions, struck-by hazards account for many serious workplace injuries.
Struck-by Hazard Prevention Methods
Training employees to recognize struck-by hazards is a safety priority, but visual cues can help bring attention to areas that require extra caution.
- Posting floor signs in hard hat areas reminds employees of overhead dangers and PPE signs showing shields and gloves remind welders to stay adequately protected from flying debris and sparks.
- A floor or wall sign placed near stacked storage alerts material handlers to maximum load weights or heights.
- Pedestrians wearing high-visibility safety clothing are easier for forklift and crane operators to spot when driving or dropping loads.
- Applying reflective tape to heavy equipment makes these machines more noticeable to prevent roadway collisions.
- Protective bumper guards draw attention to stationary objects and prevent impact between machines and the structures.
Focus Four Hazard #4: Caught-In Hazards
Any location where someone may be caught, crushed, squeezed, pinched, pinned, or compressed between two objects is a caught-in or -between hazard. These accidents may be due to a trench caving in, a forklift tipping and crushing the occupant or bystanders, a crane reversing and pinning someone against a surface, or a blade or machine gear injuring fingers or hands. Production facilities, construction sites, and any workplace with heavy machinery are at risk of caught-in hazards.
Warning Labels and Cues for Caught-In Hazards
While safe working conditions and training can prevent many caught-in hazards, visual warnings can help strengthen employees’ awareness of the dangers and provide valuable reminders.
- Apply safety labels to machines with moving parts to alert operators and technicians of gears and automated blades. These small decals are sized to fit nearly anywhere to provide highly visible, clear pinch-point hazard signs and danger warnings.
- Placing safety floor signs to highlight ramps, uneven pavement, and slick surface conditions can improve forklift safety in the workplace, preventing accidents due to unmanned machinery rolling or tipping lifts.
- Separating traffic can also help; use floor tape to label pedestrian walkways and forklift zones to designate who is allowed where.
No industrial environment is immune to the Focus Four hazards highlighted in OSHA’s training. Take steps to make your workplace safer with visuals, like our industrial floor signs and tape or physical barriers for traffic control. These extra measures can make a difference when it matters most. For more tips on workplace safety, visit our Resource Center.
Note: This blog post is for informational purposes only. Trainers must use specific learning objectives and follow the participatory training model when conducting Focus Four training. This includes applying effective training techniques. Explore the training packet and defer to OSHA’s guidelines to conduct this training in your own facility. For more information, contact OSHA Assistant Regional Administrator Nicholas DeJesse.