Observation mirrors, or convex mirrors, are a relatively common sight in shops – they are used to give cashiers and security staff a better field of vision to monitor blind spots without having to follow people around. They can also be an extremely useful health and safety tool; read on to find out how.
What is an observation mirror?
A standard mirror is perfectly flat – so when you look into it you see the reflection of the same angle that you are at (stand in front, you see yourself, stand at forty-five degrees and you see what is at the opposing forty-five degrees). Observation mirrors are not flat – they bulge outwards towards the person looking into them – meaning that they give a much broader field of vision without having to move your viewpoint.
Where are they used for safety purposes?
Common use cases for observation mirrors in terms of health and safety are:
Forklift truck drivers, trolley operators and other warehouse personnel can benefit from an observation mirror as it allows them to see what is coming around a blind corner or at the end of a racking aisle – reducing the likelihood of an accident which could result in personal injury or damage to stock or equipment.
You might think that there are already plenty of safety measures in place when it comes to vehicles moving around your workplace – the forklifts beep when they reverse for example, and the driver can also use the horn to announce themselves at corners or aisle ends. Unfortunately, though, employees can often start to hear these sounds as part of the general workplace background noise, and so the warnings become less useful. Using a mirror in conjunction with your other safety measures adds an extra sensory input – and after all, when it comes to health and safety it is better to have too much than not enough.
Construction sites typically use heavy machinery and plant equipment that can be difficult to manoeuvre, and it often has more blind spots than the average vehicle designed for road use. Couple this with the fact that these types of sites are usually constantly changing their layout, and there is a recipe for accidents. Well-placed observation mirrors around the site, and particularly around site access points, can reduce the risks here significantly – an important consideration when you are dealing with vehicles of this nature in particular.
If your site has a particularly difficult access and/or exit point, then you can improve the safety of everyone – staff, customers, passers-by, etc. – by placing an observation mirror in such a way that you can clearly and easily see what is coming without having to put yourself at risk by pulling out blind or ‘creeping’. Make sure that the mirror is relatively high up, but not so high that truck and car drivers cannot easily see into it, and angle it so that you get maximum visibility from your gates/driveway/access road.
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