Special Topics in Safety Management

Damage-Free Sign Labels for Industrial Use

Sign labels that can be printed with laser or ink-jet printers in minutes and removed cleanly from most surfaces serve to notify, instruct, and even protect personnel in just about every area in a facility.

Safety Signs 1

Signs are posted virtually everywhere, from the production floor and inside the warehouse to staff offices, conference rooms, and even the break room.

Throughout industrial plants and warehouses, signs are posted virtually everywhere, from the production floor and inside the warehouse to staff offices, conference rooms, and even the break room. In most facilities, there is virtually no room or area spared from these notifications, instructions or warnings, whether informal or mandated by law.

Signs Everywhere

Signs are used in multiple ways throughout industrial facilities. In lean manufacturing, signs are often used to establish operating instructions, procedures, processes, checklists, and scheduling. In Human Resources (HR), signs give notice, rules, and reminders to personnel. In offices, signs are used to identify locations, prohibit smoking, and request visitor sign-in. In break rooms, signs spell out refrigerator rules and remind staff to keep the premises clean.

Because many of these signs are located in industrial environments and not in pristine commercial offices, the sheets of paper, card stock, sheet protectors, laminated sheets, and posters used must stand up to a harsher environment.

This is where the problem lies. Since many of the options used for ad hoc signs are not designed specifically for industrial spaces, they are not resistant to the moisture, chemicals, greases, etc., often found in such environments. As a result, they are damaged easily and must be replaced frequently.

Many signs can also cause considerable damage to the underlying surfaces when taped, tacked, nailed, or screwed to walls, glass, or equipment. Sign removal can also leave behind unsightly residual tape or adhesive. This is exacerbated when signs include information that is regularly updated or changed.

The ideal solution would be signage that is easy to install, durable enough to endure harsh conditions, yet comes off easily when necessary, leaving no trace.

“Industrial labels used as signage must be more durable than those used in an office, but also should remove cleanly when they need to come down,” says Tina Huff, group product manager at Avery Products Corporation. “For us, the key to accomplishing this was developing an adhesive that holds well but can be removed when needed. Achieving that balance is harder than it sounds.”

As the result of this effort, new Avery Surface Safe Sign Labels have an exclusive and proprietary construction specially engineered to stick securely yet remove cleanly without damage or residue from painted walls, doors, windows, and other interior surfaces.

Safety Signs 2

The ideal solution is signage that is easy to install, durable enough to endure harsh conditions, yet comes off easily when necessary, leaving no trace.

These “labels used as signs” are made of durable, industrial-grade material that resists water, chemicals, and even abrasion. Available in a variety of sizes, they print easily on standard laser or ink-jet printers, opening a world of possibilities for custom, do-it-yourself signs.

Unlike standard office labels with a paper substrate, the topcoat of the industrial sign labels is waterproof and chemical resistant, while its polyester substrate is a durable, scuff- and tear-resistant film.

These qualities are ideal for safety-related signage mandated by regulation or required by company policy.

For instance, facility managers and safety officers or engineers will want signs compliant with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 1910.145 (Specifications for Accident Prevention Signs and Tags) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z535.4 (Product Safety Signs and Labels).

Although standardized safety signs can be purchased out of catalogs, there is often a need to modify or customize mandated signage as conditions or formats change.

On-demand printing solutions have traditionally required a large, up-front investment of thousands of dollars, including a specialized sign and label printer, software, labels, and ribbons.

In response, industry innovators such as Avery Products Corporation have developed a simplified, flexible approach using standard laser and ink-jet printers. The company’s free online Design and Print Software enables customizable printing utilizing OSHA/ANSI-compliant templates.

Employees can create and print their own informal, official, or compliant labels from predesigned templates or create them step-by-step on demand at their desk. Most employees find the process intuitive, since it resembles creating an office document from predesigned templates.

With all the signage used throughout an industrial setting, the ability to conveniently print new sign labels in minutes and cleanly remove the old will go a long way toward keeping the whole facility safely up to date without the hassle, mess, or cost.

For more information, visit www.Avery.com/signs.

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