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HSE uses cartoons to push safety message

CARTOONS OF health and safety rules could start appearing on construction sites in the UK as a more direct way of imposing safe working practice, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) said on Tuesday.

The messages will be attached to equipment and construction materials so that they are visible at the point where accident risks are most acute.

'There is now a proliferation of safety signs all over surfaces of construction sites which nobody takes notice of any more,' said HSE specialist inspector Paul Thomas.

He added that research at Loughborough University showed that construction sites rely more and more on inexperienced, poorly trained workers and, in particular, those whose first language is not English.

'This will be a huge challenge when the Olympic projects are underway,' he said.

The ability of cartoons to overcome language barriers is seen as crucial.

The messages were trialled at 11 construction sites where 70 site workers were interviewed to gauge their understanding over three months. By the end of the trial, 89% of workers had adopted the safe working methods they promoted.

The trial also revealed that workers with less than 14 years experience were more aware of the signs initially than those with 22 years experience.

The next stage in the research will involve assessing the longterm impact of the signs.

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