We’ve heard the statistics. According to the National Safety Council, approximately 25,000 people a day are victims of slip and fall accidents. Along with the pain and suffering that typically results, these injuries cost as much as $70 billion annually in medical expenses, worker’s compensation claims, lost wages, and reduced worker productivity.
It’s been hard to bring these numbers down. Slip and fall accidents have been an ongoing problem for decades. One of the reasons is that the warning signs—those that are typically installed to notify people of, for instance, a wet or slippery floor—tend to be ignored. According to one study, only about 7 percent of us actually acknowledge them and the warning they are trying to convey. The rest of us go about our business, giving the warning sign little or no heed.
Would changing the way warning signs look improve the odds that people will actually pay attention to them? According to Cambridge University, this may be a compelling option. We need “warning [signs] designed so that they will be noticed and examined. They should be understandable by as large a portion of their intended audience as possible.”
One unlikely way of doing this is to design warning signs so that they look like bananas, yes bananas!
According to the developers of banana-shaped warning signs, “They catch your eye, and the warning message is inherent in the shape of the cone. Explicitly focusing on floor safety, [these signs] help promote health, safety, and humor.”
However, why the look of a banana?
According to the developers, back in the 1800s in New York City, public sanitation, especially on streets and sidewalks, was not the priority as it is today. An abundance of trash, including lots of banana peels, often piled on the city’s streets and sidewalks. “These turned streets and sidewalks into slime-covered booby traps. Now, because it is often used as a popular comedy gag, the banana peel slip is recognized by both children and adults worldwide as a contributor to slip and fall accidents.”
However, do they work?
The developers point to a 2015 perception study that indicates banana-shaped warning cones are 22 times more noticeable than traditional safety signs. This is because they remind people that slipping on banana peels can be dangerous, so they pay more attention to the signs and watch where they walk.
Furthermore, in a real-life situation, DuPont has installed banana-cone safety signs in one of its facilities. “We have nothing but positive responses to the banana cones,” says a DuPont representative. “Our staff are telling us they definitely notice them, far more than the standard yellow wet floor signs we used to use.” Visit our home page for a short video on our Banana Cone warning cones. For more information, contact an Impact Product representative.