As yet another tragedy involving a sign is reported in the national press, we are reminded of the vital duty sign makers have to do everything in their power to protect the public.
In the recent incident a fascia sign fell from a store front in Blackpool and trapped a 68-year-old woman who was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident is now under investigation by the police and local authority and no further comment can be made about the case until their findings are published.
However, the tragedy does, once again, serve to highlight the fact that signs, like any heavyweight structure, can be dangerous. Common sense dictates that structural signs must be designed, manufactured, installed to be fit for purpose, but the required standards are also set out in BS 559, in Building Regulations and, increasingly in Eurocodes.
Similarly, it seems obvious that signs must be correctly maintained if they are to continue to function safely and efficiently. To its credit the BSGA (British Sign and Graphics Association) has campaigned recently to inform the industry of its obligations with regard to maintenance of signs and is currently working to incorporate standards for maintenance practice within BS and EN codes.
These efforts have met with criticism from some quarters where the view seems to be that ‘standards’ are a strategy of big companies to make life difficult for smaller businesses. This is patently not the case. Standards are necessary to protect the public and anyone involved in any activity which could pose a danger to the public must meet the requisite standards.
If for any reason you can’t or won’t do so, you should find an alternative way of earning a living.
(If you want to learn more about how the law and standards affect signmakers, the BSGA is running a series of free seminars at this year’s Sign&Digital UK show).