Using Safety Posters Effectively

When used correctly, safety posters can act like a mini-safety meeting by reaching out to employees with a single timely message. Some posters are required by law, while others are optional but useful.

Canadian legislation requires several posters to be displayed in workplaces, mostly to inform employees of their rights at work and let them know what their employer’s responsibilities are. Here is a breakdown of what the posting requirements look like in Ontario—Health & Safety at Work: Prevention Starts Here poster, a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and WSIB In Case of Injury Poster (Form 82):



Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, all provincially regulated workplaces must display the Health & Safety at Work poster as well as the Occupational Health and Safety Act. OHSA also states that a company’s health and safety policy must be posted (as well as reviewed annually), and their workplace violence and workplace harassment policies must also be posted (and reviewed annually).

The Employment Standards in Ontario poster must be displayed as per the Employment Standards Act, 2000. (Other provinces have similar requirements). On a worksite that requires a joint health and safety committee, the members of that committee must be posted. The WSIB In Case of Injury poster is also required to be posted in a prominent location.

Posters that are mandated by law typically appear on a designated safety board in a central location for inspectors to check a company is in compliance with the law. But if these are the only safety posters on display then you’re missing out on a great opportunity to reiterate essential safety messages.

Here are three quick tips to ensure your safety posters are effective:

  1. Make sure the poster is posted in a pertinent area. For example, a PPE poster should be displayed at the entrance to areas where PPE is required, and a handwashing sign should appear near a sink.
  2. If a poster doesn’t communicate location-specific information, make sure it’s posted in high-traffic areas to maximize the number of people who will see it (e.g., a break room or designated communication board). Posters are most effective when they’re not lost in a wall of clutter, so keep that in mind when choosing its location.
  3. Posters are more successful when they have a purpose. Try to keep the content of the poster relevant by tying it back to a message delivered at a safety meeting or an awareness month that has been the topic of discussion.

And just like any other safety material, you need to keep safety posters fresh. Rotate your posters often to keep your employees interested, deliver new and relevant messages and ensure the posters don’t become wallpaper.