Warnings, Signage, and Safety Instruction Analysis

Overview

Warnings are ubiquitous in our everyday environment. They appear in the form of written warnings on products, equipment, machinery, tools, medication, roadway signage, and user manuals.  Auditory warnings, such as alarms, sirens, horns; or other forms of warnings speak to a wide range of our senses. Evaluating whether a warning is appropriate or sufficient involves many variables. 

Questions about the effectiveness of warnings might include:

  • How do individuals process warnings and safety information?
  • Was the hazard obvious?
  • Were the warnings, if heeded, sufficient to prevent the accident?
  • Did the placement, format, or color of warnings affect accident causation?
  • Would additional or alternate warnings have changed the outcome or prevented the accident?
  • Should the operator or pedestrian have heard the sound (train horn, sirens, alarm, etc.)?
  • Was the roadway signage sufficient to alert traffic of construction or lane closure?

    Regional Practice Leaders

    Transportation Division Manager, Gulf Coast Region