As some workers prepare for a potential return to offices and other facilities in the near future, it’s time for EHS professionals to again consider common facility hazards facing personnel—including slip hazards from wet floors. What are the references, standards, and/or available resources regarding “wet floor” signage? See what EHS Hero® experts had to say.
Q: Is there an available reference or standard surrounding the appropriate amount of “wet floor” signage that should be placed in an area when janitorial staff are mopping?
A: The only OSHA standard that specifically pertains to “wet floor” caution signage is 29 CFR 1910.145(c)(2). However, OSHA has endorsed the latest best practices related to safety signs by referencing the 2011 American National Standards Institute/National Equipment Manufacturers Association (ANSI/NEMA) Z535 safety sign and tag standards in its regulations (Federal Register Volume 78 Number 215 November 6, 2013). The ANSI Z535 series was reaffirmed in 2017, with only minor changes to the technical specifications for colors. Though ANSI Z535.2-2011 (R2017) Environmental Facility and Safety Signs does not indicate a specific number of “wet floor” signs that must be placed, it states that hazard alerting signs must be placed to alert and inform viewers from a safe viewing distance and they must not be placed on or adjacent to moveable objects like doors, windows, etc.
Additionally, common industry best practices indicate that janitorial staff should ensure that “wet floor” signage is visible from all directions. Consequently, the “correct” number of signs will vary depending on the size and characteristics of the wet area. Generally speaking, staff should place signs prominently so that employees and customers will see them before entering wet floor areas. Signs should be placed on both sides of a wet floor/spill, with a triangle of signs around the hazard area being ideal. If the wet floor is near a blind corner, staff should place a sign on the other side of the turn, as it will warn customers and employees of the hazard.
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