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Recent incidents within the Sign industry involving the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has bought about the requirement to ensure the highest standards of signage are provided, along with increasing professionalism, accountability. No longer can a sign company, or purchaser assume everything will be alright because that’s the way it’s always been done, nor can either parties assume it’ll be fine because a sign is only going to be erected for a few weeks.

If you’re looking to purchase new signage, is your chosen sign company aware of, and abide by section 4 (Service Life) contained in BS559:2009?

 

The wording is as follows:

 

The service life of the sign shall be either:

a) As specified by the purchaser on the order; or

b) As agreed between the purchaser and the manufacturer; or

c) As specified by the manufacturer to the purchaser; or

d) If not specified or agreed in accordance with a), b) or c), 10 years

 

What this means is that if you don’t specify the expected lifetime of a sign at the time of quote and order and if the sign fails, under BS559:2009 the expected lifetime of that sign is 10 years. You may assume that this isn’t any concern to you as the end user. Just think of the implications of this on your business? Not only financial loss, but the time and effort that an event like this will consume. Will your chosen sign company have the relevant insurance? Will they stand by their installations or try everything to wiggle free from blame?

 

Just as vitally important as all the above is the question of maintenance of signs one they are in place. It is no longer acceptable to install a sign, and that be the end of the sign companies, and customers responsibilities. The Authorities are looking at ways of including standards of maintenance practices and procedures within the BS and EN standards codes. The point is that a sign company’s responsibilities for a sign does not necessarily end upon payment of the invoice by the customer as proven in recent HSE cases and we now have the opportunity of putting that right.

Provided you choose a reputable signage company, the chances of a failure are small, but you cannot assume that it won’t happen. It has, and does. With one developer being fined £300k after a sign falls onto a passer by, more information about this case is available here. There’s even more serious consequences, with the example from London which resulted in a death as bookmakers sign failedduring a storm.

You may think it won’t happen, but here is one example we have seen ourselves. One of neighbouring shops (prior to moving) came in one morning to find their shop sign had been completely removed from the front overnight during a storm. We were appointed to conduct some remedial repairs to the shop front, and erect a new sign.
Tracks Cafe shop front following a storm in which their sign was severely damaged

The site where the sign was installed before the storm struck

What the owners of Track’s Cafe were greeted with after a winter storm

Missing-Sign

White aluminium folded sign tray with cut vinyl graphicvs

Tracks Cafe Sign replaced with a BS559:2009 folded sign tray

It isn’t just shops on the High Street that need to be aware of their Health & Safety obligations with regards to signage, it applies to all signage, whether temporary, or permanent, on shop fronts and warehouses.

Regardless of which sign company you appoint to undertake your signage requirements, please take on board the information in this article, and at the very least ensure you specify the life you expect from your new signage!

More information is available from the BSGA website.

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Unit 12a, The Cobden Centre, Vere Street, Salford Quays, M50 2PQ.
Phone: (0161) 925-0581
Fax: (0844) 858-4437
Website: http://www.seymoursignandprint.co.uk

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