Adding visual cues for hazard communication can improve safety while performing non-routine tasks by informing employees of the risks and required control measures. While preparing for non-routine tasks boosts safety, visual cues better signal where caution is needed. See how to use floor signs, tape, and safety labels to improve employees’ awareness and safety during annual maintenance, machine shutdowns, or other infrequent jobs.

Effective Visual Cues for Task Areas

Employers are obligated—legally and ethically—to communicate when a situation or job may be harmful to employees. As with combining multiple hazard controls, layering safety communication methods (i.e. visual cues, warning sounds, and training) can also protect workers. But, some tactics are more effective than others. Before choosing and applying adhesive safety signs and tape for non-routine worksites, consider these tips.

Color-Code Visual Cues to the Facility

When choosing floor signs or tape for a less frequently used area, the visual cues should comply with your facility’s set color standards. Using whatever color you happen to have on hand causes confusion—but when visual cues follow recognized color schemes, staff can interpret meaning quickly for better reaction time. 

Use Proper Placement in Task Areas

Floor signs offer many safety benefits, but consider the placement that will be most effective, especially in areas where non-routine tasks occur. If placed too far away, the message may not properly identify the hazard—but, placing it too near may not allow appropriate reaction time.

Select Lasting, Durable Visual Cues

Make sure your visual cues don’t peel up or crack from weather conditions by applying durable, lasting signs and floor marking tape. Our Superior Mark® material is designed to last however frequently, or infrequently, the area is used. Also choose the right floor marking type, including options rated for freezer areas, carpeted offices, or on uneven concrete.

Display Clear, Concise Safety Messages

Lengthy, hard-to-read signs won’t do, and those with muddled graphics aren’t the answer, either. Choose visual cues with concise, easy-to-read text and universally recognized symbols. Provide clear instructions in multiple languages with bilingual signs. Our custom sign tool can help you design clear, specific messages paired with personalized icons, text, and colors to suit your needs.

How Visual Cues Support Hazard Controls

When communication is lacking, the worksite isn’t prepared, or employees aren’t properly trained, non-routine tasks can result in accidents or injuries. Floor signs, tape, and other facility safety tools offer visual communication and reminders that allow employees to understand where safety measures are required. Explore these suggestions for installing visual cues in locations with specialized tasks.

Safety Labels for Machine Hazards

For non-routine tasks that include equipment maintenance, repair, or retooling, the Job Hazard Analysis may have identified engineering controls such as machine guards or interlocks as the best way to protect workers. Safety labels improve awareness by providing a visual reminder of pinch points, nip points, hot areas, and blades. These labels are effective safety reminders that make emergency stop buttons and lockout points easier to spot, as well.

5S Floor Markers for Job Site Organization

When working in an unfamiliar environment on a task that’s out of the norm, an organized space helps employees be more productive and keeps them safe. Audit the area and use 5S and Lean methods to create an orderly work floor to help reduce hazards and support a safe and efficient workflow. Use 5S floor markings, signs, pallet corner markers, or floor tape to assign everything a place, making it easy to locate and put away. This allows employees to follow an intuitive visual system—rather than rely on memory alone—when looking for tools or supplies. 

Chemical Labels & SDS Signage

Chemical releases and spills can pose risks employees aren’t usually exposed to, but having a GHS-compliant worksite means protective measures are clearly communicated to support the best outcome. Applying GHS labels to secondary containers better communicates specific hazards and allows for faster mitigation or clean-up when necessary. Our floor marking kits make SDS stations, eyewash stations, and first aid locations easy to find—and clear messaging reminds staff to ensure these locations aren’t blocked by inventory or equipment.

Visual Cues for Personal Protective Equipment

If the project relies on PPE as a line of defense, install visual reminders to make sure everyone is wearing the required protective devices before entering. Mark a perimeter with floor tape that notes which devices are required for entry or apply a PPE floor sign at entrances to alert employees to the required protections. These signs and tape are easy to apply and will remain in place long-term, even through traffic, cleaning, or periods of disuse.

Directional Cues and Wayfinding Signs

Employees tasked with periodic maintenance or working somewhere new can be kept safer with wayfinding signs and traffic control markings. Directional cues including arrows and stop signs can help technicians safely navigate industrial locations they might not be used to, while traffic control signs remind pedestrians and drivers to use caution at intersections due to in-use forklifts, picking machines, and automated equipment.

For non-routine tasks, implementing hazard controls—including visual cues and reminder signs—can greatly improve communication and employee safety. For more information and tips for industrial environments, visit our Resource Center.