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Free Safety Posters & Compliance Signs

professionally printed POSTER for pratically nothing!

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Posters don't need to be boring to promote safety on the worksite! Our one-of-a-kind posters are sure to catch the eye. Statistics show that a little creativity can go a long way to helping workers retain the information or message presented on the poster. This, in turn, can improve safety. That's our hope anyway, and we're sticking to it. So order a professionally printed poster from us today or purchase a digital copy of the poster file to print yourself.
Our safety training PowerPoint presentations contain the main training presentation, videos, safety posters, the written and practical exams + more. Rest assured all of our safety training PowerPoints are OSHA compliant.

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Free Safety Posters & Compliance Signs

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Safety Posters and signs are tools that remind employees to be safe on the job. 

  • Safety posters are an important means to help workers retain safety information.
  • OSHA does require certain posters to be up in the workplace.
  • Hard Hat Training offers safety posters you can download and print for free.

The Importance of Workplace Posters

Safety posters can be creative and fun, using cartoons or clever puns to demonstrate an important safety principle. But this isn’t to provide a laugh to employees, rather it is intended to help employees retain important safety information. Doing so will help them to implement that information into strong safety practices for their everyday work lives. Consider the following story:
Jenna was walking from one department of the warehouse where she worked to a corridor to retrieve a pallet jack. When Jenna exited the room via the roll-up door, her coworker Patrice went straight across the hall to get the pallet jack. Jenna suddenly received a phone call and decided to take it. 

As she was talking on her phone, she turned to her right to find Patrice when she was struck by a forklift and knocked to the concrete floor. Jenna fractured her left leg and bruised her back and head, requiring hospitalization for six days. The forklift operator said he didn't see anyone in the hall, he wasn't carrying a load, and he was honking his horn. Jenna didn't hear the horn because she was distracted by her phone.
How many times have you seen a poster warning against drugs, drinking and driving, and being distracted by your phone? These safety posters are serious and vital for reminding employees of their responsibility to properly follow workplace procedures.

In this story, Jenna would have benefited greatly from a workplace poster reminding her not to be distracted by her phone while on the job. Where that poster was put up and how effective its design is are other considerations that would have helped Jenna remember this simple precaution.

Although they may seem trivial at first, safety posters can really make a difference and help you and your fellow employees remember important safety information.

Remember Your Training

Safety posters usually include basic information regarding training that you may have already received. Lots of times, these posters include information that is well known but regularly ignored or bypassed for convenience. Common information included on custom safety posters include reminders to:

  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Avoid power lines
  • Drive responsibily
  • Communicate with coworkers
  • Be safety trained or certified
  • Familiarize yourself with the workplace policies and systems 

Safety posters can sometimes even list procedures or steps for doing your work safely. However, these usually cross over into compliance signs and labor law posters, which we will discuss more below.

Are Safety Posters Free?

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While not all retailers offer free posters, some do. It is relatively easy to find custom safety posters and download them for free. Posters that are required by OSHA for every workplace are available for free on the OSHA website. Making your own posters, of course, is free and depending on what safety information you want, may be the best option for you. 

Here at Hard Hat Construction Safety Training, we offer a large variety of safety posters that are available for free download. This means you would have to print and frame them yourself. This means you may still need to pay to get it printed in the size you want. If you don’t want to go through that hassle, there is an option on our website that allows you to purchase our safety poster pre-printed and in a basic frame.

Are Safety Posters Required?

OSHA does not require employers to post safety posters in their workplace. They are optional and recommended because of the effect they have on employees. Some safety posters may have important information that is specific to the workplace, but the employer will be responsible for communicating this information with their employees.

There are certain informational posters that OSHA requires for every workplace, but those will be discussed further on in this article with more detail.

Can I Make My Own Safety Posters?

You can make your own safety posters if you have the means to do so. If you do make a safety poster, however, it is important that whatever information you put on it is based on OSHA standards.

Safety posters can either be straightforward, or they can be creative. No matter what you choose, the poster should, in some way, be eye-catching. You can use creative titles, information that plays on words, or bright and contrasting colors. It would be counterproductive to create a safety poster that teaches false information or give employees the idea that it is safe and advisable to skip safety procedures or put themselves at risk.

Where in the Workplace Should I Put Posters?

It is important that you or your employer put safety posters and OSHA required informational posters in your workplace somewhere where they will be seen often. There are some general tips on where you should place these posters to ensure that all employees can read the information on them. These tips do not apply to compliance signs or accident prevention signs and tags. 

  • Use high-traffic areas: There are many areas in the workplace that employees do not frequently pass or enter. Avoid putting safety posters in these areas. Make sure that wherever you put the posters, they are in areas employees frequently visit or pass by. Good examples of high-traffic areas include the entrance or lobby and the break room. 
  • Use multiple areas: Don’t put all your safety posters in one area. Make sure to try and place them throughout the workplace in high traffic areas. 
  • Avoid clutter: Too many posters in one area or an area packed with materials can be counterproductive. Make sure to put space between posters on the wall and don’t let them be blocked by other materials or equipment. 
  • Change out posters: Employees may get tired of seeing the same safety posters day after day and will stop paying attention to them after a while. Changing out the posters on a monthly or bimonthly basis will help employees focus on new information. Do not change out required posters, these need to stay the same and remain where they are so employees always know where to find them. 
  • Use relevant posters: Only use posters that show safety information relevant to your workplace. For example, a safety poster on confined spaces would not apply to an office space. It would be better to use an ergonomics safety poster instead. Think about your choice of safety posters before putting them up.

What Safety Posters Should I Have in My Workplace?

Aside from the safety posters that are required by federal, state, and local agencies, you should have safety posters that are creative and relevant. It is up to you to choose what safety posters you should have and want in your workplace. Some safety posters are general enough, though, that they could apply to basically any workplace. These posters include:

  • Ergonomic hazard prevention
  • Bloodborne pathogen prevention
  • Social distancing*
  • Active shooter procedures
  • Workplace violence prevention
  • Sexual harassment awareness
  • Fire safety procedures
  • Fire extinguisher inspection and use
  • General safety awareness
  • Health and safety awareness
  • CPR steps
  • Mental health awareness
  • Drug and alcohol abuse recognition and prevention
  • Walking/working surfaces awareness

*Social distancing was an important safety practice beginning with the COVID-19 pandemic. Most workplaces today have discontinued or deemed social distancing as no longer necessary. Some workplaces may or may not still require social distancing. 

OSHA Required Posters

There are some particular posters and signs that OSHA requires every workplace to have. There are certain requirements that need to be met for some of them to be required and some can vary in states that have a state plan. But the following sections will explain which posters are required and the conditions that meet those requirements.

The OSHA Workplace Poster

OSHA requires all employers to display the OSHA Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law poster somewhere in their workplace where all employees can see it. If the employer has an older version of the poster, then they do not need to replace it with the newer one. A PDF file of the OSHA poster is available for free on the OSHA website and is available in multiple other languages as well. 

This poster is required because it displays important information regarding workers’ rights and employers’ responsibilities. There is also OSHA contact information at the bottom. If you work in a state with a state plan, they will likely have their own version of the OSHA poster.

Labor Law Posters

Any employer that has at least one paid employee is required to post federal, state, and local labor law posters in their workplace. Like the OSHA poster, these posters are available for free download and need to be placed somewhere where all employees can see and read them. The information on these posters varies between the individual federal, state, and local posters.

  • Federal: Federal information stays the same across all workplaces and includes information regarding the federal minimum wage, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Employee Polygraph Protection Act, and OSHA posters.
  • State: State poster will contain federal information and important labor laws specific to them such as minimum wage, insurance benefits, and anti-discrimination laws. 
  • Local: Local refers to cities and counties that may have additional labor law posters that are required by the local government. Most of these cover things like minimum wages, but can cover other labor laws as necessary. 
  • Remote worker: These include all the federal, state, and local laws applicable to employees who work remotely and not at the business location. They come in PDF form rather than in poster form and the employer forwards them to their employees by email.

What are Some of the Labor Laws Included on Posters?

The information included on posters regarding labor laws are incredibly important. Labor laws are protections for employees in the workforce from employer discrimination and unsafe work practices. OSHA mandates a lot of these labor laws. Important labor laws include:

  • Protections from discrimination of any kind
  • Protection from retaliation because of discrimination
  • Protection from wrongful termination
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Minimum wage, overtime, and misclassification
  • Unsafe workplace complaints and conditions
  • Worker compensation for illness or injury on the job

There are federal mandates for these as well as individual state and local government mandates, all of which will be included on their respective posters. 

Compliance Signs

Compliance signs are different from safety posters because rather than demonstrate a safety principle through creative means, compliance signs are used to advise safety or alert employees of a hazard. They are more direct in message and simple in design. OSHA only requires certain compliance signs where they are necessary or industry specific. 

You have likely seen many of these signs before, such as exit signs, traffic control signs, and no smoking signs. Some are made for the public, but some are OSHA specific and only found in certain workplaces. 

Think back on the warehouse incident with Jenna and the forklift operator. Imagine if the operator had not been honking his horn and if he had been driving fast. Compliance signs placed in the warehouse at the aisles would have helped him to remember to use his horn and drive slowly. Doing so would have prepared him to stop and alert others in time to prevent the accident. 

Accident Prevention Signs and Tags

Accident prevention signs and tags are similar to safety posters and compliance signs required by OSHA but are more hazard specific. Accident prevention signs refer to signs or symbols used to define, indicate, and instruct employees concerning workplace hazards. OSHA controls the design, application, and use of these signs and tags.

Accident Prevention Signs

You have likely seen these signs before, because they are also necessary to alert the public to nearby hazards. These signs include:

  • Danger signs: These signs are meant to warn employees of immediate danger and to use special precautions to avoid it. Danger signs used the colors red, black, and white.
  • Caution signs: More common than danger signs, caution signs are meant to warn employees of potential danger and what they should do to avoid it. Caution signs use the colors yellow and black. 
  • Warning signs: These signs come somewhere between danger and caution signs. They don’t represent immediate danger, but represent a hazard that is present more often than not at any given time. They are usually orange and black. 
  • Safety instruction signs: Like they are called, safety instruction signs are used where there is a need to display safety instructions in detail. Safety instruction signs use the colors white, green, and black. 
  • Slow-moving vehicle sign: This sign is a fluorescent yellow-orange triangle sign that specifically warns that the vehicle it is attached to is heavy and slow. 

Accident Prevention Tags

Accident prevention tags are used specifically to mark areas, equipment, vehicles, and tools that are currently unsafe to enter or use. They cannot be used in place of accident prevention signs and cannot be removed until whatever they are attached to has been repaired or deemed safe by a qualified individual. 

Important information shared on tags include pictographs and signal words. The pictograph is either a pictorial representation of the hazard associated with whatever the tag is on or of a particular safety instruction. Each tag will also have a signal word that conveys a message regarding the associated hazard such as “danger,” “caution,” or “biohazard.” Tags need to have a pictograph or a signal word, but it is acceptable and normal for them to have both. 

NFPA Signs and Labels

OSHA has adopted the labeling system used by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and requires them for labeling hazardous materials. These signs and labels identify and warn employees of the nature of hazardous chemicals and substances. They use a diamond-shaped pictograph with four sections inside that contain a different color and number or symbol. These sections are:

  • Blue: The blue section represents how hazardous the material is to your health. The numbers 0-4 represent the level of how much of a health hazard the material is, zero being no health hazard and four being a lethal health hazard. 
  • Red: The red section represents how much of a flammability hazard the material is. Zero means the material is not flammable, and four means the material can ignite easily at normal temperatures. 
  • Yellow: The yellow section represents how unstable the material is. Zero means that the material is stable, and four means that the material may explode at normal temperatures and pressures. 
  • White: The white section is unique and represents a special hazard. There is usually a unique symbol or letter in this section to indicate what the special hazard is. For example, OX means that the material is oxidizing and a W with a line through it means the material reacts violently when it makes contact with water. 

Unlike other compliance signs, NFPA signs and labels are intended to be put on the material container itself and not in the workplace. However, sometimes these containers are portable, and other times they are not. For example, an NFPA sign could be put on a silo just outside the workplace, indicating to employees that the substance it contains is hazardous. 

Other Compliance Signs

There are few other compliance signs that are required by OSHA. Even signs that are not required can be of tremendous help in providing workers with instruction and caution in the workplace. Compliance signs are even important to the public. For example, traffic signs are vital to instructing drivers on how to drive and when to be wary of roadside hazards. 

Compliance signs are a good measure to implement as part of a safety program or safety management system in the workplace. They can warn employees of workplace hazards or hazardous conditions in an area, such as uneven walking surfaces.  

Can I Make My Own Compliance Signs?

It is actually highly recommended that in addition to required compliance signs, you make your own custom compliance signs tailored for your workplace. Many third-party retailers offer customizable compliance signs. Each workplace has its own unique hazards and safety procedures, so signs that either warn or instruct employees are especially helpful. 

These custom compliance signs should be placed where they are applicable, and not in high traffic areas the way safety posters would be placed. For example, placing slow speed signs for forklift drivers by the entrance to a warehouse aisle will be much more helpful and relevant than slow speed signs in the break room. 

Safety Month Posters

Another set of posters that is common in workplaces are safety month posters. For example, June is considered National Safety Month (NSM) when public awareness of leading safety and health risks is increased to help reduce workplace injury and death. This is because there is a higher number of workplace injuries and death during the summer months. 

The National Safety Council (NSC) spearheads NSM by providing topics to focus on each week of the month and associated materials to bring awareness to each topic. Included in these materials is a workplace poster with a QR code leading to the NSC website for more info on each week's topic. 

You are not required to have this poster in your workplace, however, most workplaces do have an NSM poster to help spread awareness of safety from hazards. They are free for download on the NSC website, and they are a great way to support the workforce's emphasis on safety as a whole. 

Safety Topics for Each Month

Another great way to utilize posters in the workplace is by finding a different hazard to focus on each month. There is no set topic for each month according to OSHA, but plenty of third-party organizations and groups have put together a twelve-month list. Especially with industries that have a large number of hazards to think about, safety month posters can help boost awareness.

For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established April as distracted driving awareness month. Putting up a safety poster with information and statistics regarding distracted driving can help you and your fellow employees be aware and avoid distracted driving. 

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