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Health and safety in signage | Pearce Signs
01 November, 2023

A safe pair of hands

Why our culture of health and safety, and a duty of care, runs through everything we do.

You don’t need to be a specialist in company signs to know that what we do comes with potentially significant risks. Not only do we design and manufacture signs, but we install them in endless locations of varying height and degrees of difficulty, in terms of reach and access.

So it will come as no surprise that, underpinning all this is a profound respect for health and safety, in every area of our business, and in every operation and process. And all this comes down to centuries of design and engineering know-how.

In terms of reassuring our clients, employees and suppliers, we’ve covered off the fundamentals by achieving the rigorous ISO accreditations for Health & Safety (45001); Quality (9001) and Environment (14001). These are the critical building blocks for our ongoing commitment to the three, core international benchmark standards.

But what does this actually mean on a day to day basis, for a company that operates nationally and internationally?

For a start it’s not just about ticking boxes. We know that our people are our biggest asset and that we should proactively protect them in the workplace, and out on every job, with a rigorous approach to health and safety.

This means that we conduct annual internal audits on all three ISO systems with regard to our working environment at our Nottingham plant, our manufacturing and transportation processes, and each and every installation.

These are additionally assessed by external audits to ensure that we continue to meet the highest levels of compliance to ISO standards. And we’re guided through this with external safety experts who apply a critical eye to every aspect of health and safety, which also encompasses mental health and well-being.

We also maintain a register of significant risks in the workplace that cover all of the following:

  • Workshop and warehousing operations

  • Welding processes, mechanical and electrical machinery

  • Forklift truck handling and transport movements

  • Materials handling and lifting

  • Protection from carcinogenic materials.

Rigorous approach to health and safety in the workplace | Pearce Signs

Risk Assessment Method Statements (RAMS)

The biggest threat to health and safety in any organisation is complacency, so one of our most important defences against this are the Risk Assessment Method Statements (RAMS) that site managers and project managers complete to ensure that we’ve identified every potential risk, and every remedial action to mitigate against it happening. We apply the same exacting approach to a sign above a shop door as we do to a sign on top of a 50 storey office building. We never take anything for granted.

So, how does this work internationally?

Our ISO standards set the context for our global approach to health and safety, and on a local scale we subcontract this aspect to local safety experts with a detailed knowledge of local laws and regulations.

Wherever we operate, our RAMS not only identify the risks but provide the reporting framework for accidents and incidents of every size and scale. Every incident is investigated with statements taken from the victim and witnesses, with RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations) reports submitted to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

And why does all this matter so much?

We pride ourselves on ingenuity and innovation, which often means being an early adopter of new technologies, such as neon in the 1920s and LED illumination in the early noughties. We’re also exploring a whole new seam of innovative materials and looking at ways that we can be environmentally friendly. With this brings potentially unquantified risks - hence our continuous drive to identify and understand them.

Even the routine maintenance of signs brings with it the potential threat of disease from bird and animal droppings, and one of our largest routine risks comes from the daily, occupational hazard of working at height - which means anything where a step ladder or access platform is needed comes under scrutiny. And, risk assessments take on a whole new dimension when we’re considering high access installations using abseilers or helicopters!

High access installation health and safety | Pearce Signs

Safety is a two way conversation

Safety is not just a process or series of policies that are enforced on our team of people. We see safety as a two-way conversation across all departments. It’s just as important for the less obvious areas of our business to be considered from a health and safety perspective. For example, because our design team can spend long days sitting at desks we’ve installed hydraulic workstations to change the height at which they work. We’re also constantly assessing some of the more invisible risks that a manufacturing environment creates, such as vibration and dust - as well as noise.

We want our employees to be active stakeholders in identifying risks and feeling free to raise their concerns. An example of this is how we randomly audit our subcontractors to ensure they’re adhering to all aspects of health and safety during on-site installations. And we’re also introducing questionnaires so that we can identify the needs and wants of all our stakeholders in each project.

Ultimately, we know we’re only as good as our last project - and beyond the obvious successes of delivering an excellent design, manufacture and installation service for our clients, it’s just as important that our employees and subcontractors feel that they are valued in terms of their physical and mental well-being, and their safety in performing their job. Every single day.

Accreditations, policies and best practice benchmarks are just the tools that enable us to create a culture where safety is an instinctive part of our values and empathetic work culture.

By way of example, watch the video below to see how we safely installed two giant 100m banners on top of the iconic RFU stadium in Twickenham, West London.

RFU Twickenham - Installation of Sponsorship Banners