Hanging Banners and Signs: Safety Concerns

When used correctly, banners and signs can increase revenue for businesses by drawing the attention of potential customers and inviting them to step inside a shop. In addition, large banners placed in high-traffic, public locations can significantly improve the visibility of businesses and products. Hanging these advertisements, however, is a dangerous task and may even prove fatal if employees are not properly trained for the job.

Potential Hazards

The most common risks associated with hanging banners and signs are:

  • Falls from Height.

    Although some banners and signs can be placed on walls, most indoor banners are hung from the ceiling, while large outdoor visual advertisements are usually positioned at great heights to improve visibility. As such, one of the most significant risks of hanging banners and signs is that of accidental falls, which can lead to serious injuries and even death.
  • Poor Use of Aerial Lifts.

    To achieve the height required to place most large outdoor banners and signs, employees must use aerial lifts or other, similar boom supported platforms. If operated poorly, these vehicles can injure not only the people standing on them but also passers-by and nearby workers. To prevent such accidents, employees must become familiar with aerial lifts and the potential hazards associated with the latter.
  • Electrocution.

    In many cases, banners and signs are positioned at the side of high-traffic streets, which makes it likely that employees must work around powerlines and electricity while installing the advertisement. If workers do not understand the nature of electricity and conductivity, they may suffer electrical injuries, as well as cause significant property damage.

Incident Prevention

Although employees tasked with hanging banners and signs often face many of the work-related hazards specific to the construction industry, they receive considerably less safety training, which increases the chance that they become injured. The first step towards incident prevention is to offer access to sufficient safety courses for all such employees.

Employees who are familiar with fall arrest systems are less likely to suffer serious injuries from falls, but they must also have access to the right personal protective equipment in order to maintain their safety. Even when banners and signs are hung indoors using ladders, the risk of injury can be mitigated through proper fall awareness and the use of protective gear.

Finally, workers who are commonly assigned to hang advertisements in outdoor public locations should be able to use aerial lifts correctly and take the necessary safety measures to avoid incidents. This includes the ability of employees to detect overhead powerlines and work around them while driving specialized vehicles.

Recommended Safety Courses

Elevating Work Platforms

Hanging large banners outdoors usually requires the use of an aerial lift that can help an employee reach the desired height. To maintain their safety and that of their colleagues, the former must be able to properly assess the stability of a boom-supported platform, as well as to correctly operate and disable the vehicle.

Fall Protection

Because so many advertisements are placed at great heights for improved visibility, employees responsible for this task are placed at considerable risk. Fall Arrest training familiarizes workers with the hazards of working at heights but also teaches them how to avoid potentially fatal accidents and how to use the right protective gear.

Arc Flash Safety

Arc Flash Safety is a course designed in accordance with OHS Standards – Part 19 and CSA Z462-18 and it is addressed to employees who work on or near electrical assemblies. The program is not intended to replace specialized training, but rather to help workers become aware of the hazards they face when handling electrical equipment or carrying out tasks near active conductors.

What You Can Do to Stay Safe

As an employee of an advertising company that is frequently tasked with hanging indoor and outdoor banners, you must take a proactive stance and ensure that you are trained to prevent and deal with the hazards commonly associated with your job. The right safety courses should be provided by your employer according to Canadian law.

Furthermore, if you work in a retail store or other business where you are often required to hang indoor banners using ladders, you have the right to access the same safety courses as employees who handle this task on a daily basis. To maintain your safety and that of potential customers, it is imperative that you undergo appropriate training and apply the strategies you have learned in your work routine.

Because hanging banners and signs involves many of the same hazards that are faced by construction workers, you can consult a more comprehensive list of safety courses you might need by visiting our construction industry page.