Wet Floor Signs: Tips & Regulations

Wet floor signs are used to notify and/or remind people of slip and fall hazards in the immediate area.  These hazards include the presence of liquid or other slippery substance on the walking surface as a result of routine cleaning, accidental spills, product leaks, or presence of inclement weather conditions. Proper use of wet floor signs clearly communicates the hazard, and reduces the potential for slips and falls.

Careful consideration of the following five issues can increase the effectiveness of wet floor signage:

1. COLOR

Wet floor signs should use a color that increases visibility. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has designated yellow as the color to mark physical hazards and indicate caution. These signs usually have black writing and may incorporate stripes or checkers that are also black.

Although other sign colors may be used, it is worth noting that ANSI standards have designated the following colors for specific types of hazards:

  • RED – Emergency, Stop, Danger, and Fire
  • ORANGE – Machine and Electrical
  • YELLOW – Caution and Physical
  • GREEN – Safety Equipment, other than Firefighting
  • BLUE – Safety Information
  • PURPLE – Radiation

2. USE OF ICONS AND IMAGES

Using images and icons on signs increases visibility and comprehension of signs.

3. LANGUAGE

Signs are available in many different languages. Take your audience into consideration and use multi-lingual signs as necessary.

Wet Floor Sign

This sign from grainger.com is advising caution in English, Spanish, German and French. Similar signs are available from a variety of websites and vendors.

4. LOCATION

Unused signs should be stored out of sight, yet easily accessible. The best practice is to store signs near entrances and other locations with known temporary hazards such as beverage stations, ice machines, water fountains and restrooms. When in use, signs should be visible from all directions. Consider the physical characteristics of the space. Walls, partial walls, stair ways, merchandise displays and door openings are just some of the items that could turn your well-intentioned sign into a trip hazard.

5. SIGN TYPE

There are many different types of floor signs. Just browsing the internet will provide you with many styles, such as barricades to restrict access to hazards and even a sign with a battery -operated fan to assist with floor-drying.

The three most common types are: soft, collapsible signs; durable plastic tent signs; and tall, durable plastic cone signs. Each has benefits and disadvantages which should be considered when purchasing. Soft, collapsible signs often come with storage tubes and are ideal for easy access in almost any location. However, these signs are often short and light which means they can be overlooked and easily displaced. Durable plastic tent signs can be stored behind large items, but fall down easily. The durable plastic cones are tall and stable, but difficult to store.

Wet Floor Sign Collage

(L-R): Soft, collapsible sign; durable plastic tent sign; tall, durable plastic cone sign from grainger.com.

Remember these final tips:

  • It is important to remove wet floor signs when no hazard is present. Failure to do so reduces their effectiveness when a hazard needs to be communicated.
  • Recent research has also indicated that the use of a humorous message such as “Wet Floor: Skate, Don’t Slip” is more effective than a sign that simply states “Slippery When Wet.”
  • It may be useful to routinely inspect storage locations and the condition of signs to make sure they are ready and available when needed.

Our extensive risk management library is an excellent resource for strengthening your loss prevention efforts and providing sustainable real-world solutions. To learn more about the difference Society can make for your business, contact your local independent agent.

-Matthew Booker

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2 thoughts on “Wet Floor Signs: Tips & Regulations

  1. Sutton Turner

    I am glad you talked about how there are many different shapes of wet floor signs. My parents just opened a new business and are purchasing simple things like this for their business. Thank you for the information on how to make wet floor signs effective.

    Reply
  2. Glenn Osterloh

    Hi

    If an area is continually prone to falls – e.g. a walkway open to rain or there are slippery tiles around a pool, both in a hotel, does the warning sign exonerate the hotel from liability?

    Reply

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