Many people overlook the importance of parking lot safety at work, but considering that roughly 20 percent of accidents occur there, it is well worth the time to ensure it’s a safe place.
In addition to the obvious safety concerns, your parking lot is also the first point of contact many people will have with your business or organization. If your lot is poorly maintained and confusing, it creates a very negative first impression.
During peak hours such as morning and evening, when employees arrive and leave, your parking lot becomes even more prone to accidents due to congestion. In the close quarters of a lot, a little bit of confusion on the part of a driver can quickly lead to issues.
Suggestions for a Safe Parking Lot
The following is a list of ways you can easily transform a poorly maintained, confusing and unsafe lot into a much safer experience for your employees and visitors.
1. Refresh Your Parking Lot Striping
Parking lot striping does not last forever and eventually fades to a point where it’s barely visible. Your parking stalls should all be clearly marked so drivers know where to park and to help create order. In addition to regular parking spaces, you also need to designate some as handicap parking spaces. This is done with a specific blue striping paint and the use of a handicap symbol stencil.
If your lot has assigned parking spaces, you can use number stencils to mark each parking space or just have the wording “reserved” stenciled in a parking stall. Doing this helps create an orderly parking experience and avoids conflicts amongst drivers.
Besides marking parking stalls, there are several other important striping functions in your typical lot. In cases where there are multiple entrances and exits it is very important to mark which is an exit and which is an entrance to avoid collisions with other drivers. This is usually done with large stenciled arrows to make it clear which direction you should be entering or exiting the lot or row.
2. Improve Parking Lot Signage
One of the quickest ways to improve the flow and safety of your lot is by having good signage posted that enforces your parking lot rules. Directional traffic signs make it obvious to drivers which way they should be going. Reflective stop signs allow for safe crosswalk zones and prevent collisions with other drivers.
No parking and fire lane signs clearly mark areas that are restricted from parking or that are for emergency vehicles only. Reserved and handicap parking signs show drivers which parking stalls they can and cannot use. The use of tow away zone signs can further enforce no parking areas as drivers see the consequences if they are parked in a restricted space.
Another very important part of creating a safe lot is controlling the speed of drivers. There are many potential hazards in the confined space of a small parking lot and simply slowing down helps to avoid accidents. It is crucial that you post a reasonable and safe speed limit for all drivers to see.
Eventually, after many years, your signs will fade from constant sun exposure. So even if you have all these types of signs already in place, you should check your signs annually to verify that they are still functional and readable. There will come a point when they will be hard to read, reducing their effectiveness.
Another thing to keep in mind is the reflectivity of your parking lot signage. Critical signs like stop signs and Do Not Enter signs need to be “high intensity” reflective in order to be compliant. Too many times, we see parking lots with non-reflective stop signs that are not safe or compliant. If a serious accident occurs, your organization can be held liable if it can be argued you did not have the proper signage in place.
3. Implement Surveillance Cameras
No matter how much effort you put into increasing the safety of your parking lot, incidents can still occur. Whether it is an accident, a dispute or a crime, you can help protect your company and employees by installing security cameras. In some cases this may deter a crime from occurring due to people being made aware they are being watched.
In other cases, surveillance cameras can help to evaluate a situation that has already happened. Another positive outcome is making employees feel more safe in your parking lot knowing that all situations are being recorded and possibly even monitored in real time.
Having cameras in place is only half the battle, however. You also need to make it known to all those who visit your parking lot that there is active video surveillance of the area. The best way to do this is by posting signs stating that the area is under surveillance. A sign should be posted in all areas where a camera is present. This awareness greatly increases the effect of the security camera system.
Keep It Up
Once you have taken all of these steps and achieved an organized and safe parking lot, don’t stop there. You should continuously monitor and review the safety and effectiveness of your lot. Another option is to have parking lot rules and regulations posted where your employees and visitors can see. This will help remind everyone to follow the rules do their part to keep the lot safe.
As we covered earlier, striping paint and parking lot signs will eventually fade and need upkeep. New safety concerns may also arise and will need to be addressed as they happen.
The safety of your employees and visitors is the top priority. But in addition to that, your lot is a reflection of your organization and it is important that you show your best side to your visitors. Browse our wide selection of parking lot signs to find ones that will work best for your situation.