How Comprehension Testing Improves Your Pool Safety Signs

By Derek Eversdyke, Director of Facility Safety Products | 24th Apr 2017

Safety signs are a critical part of the water safety program at your pool. They help to keep swimmers safe from harm and to fulfill your legal duty to warn. Your signs may be providing a layer of protection for your guests – but are they providing an effective layer of protection?

Most pool signs in use today don’t follow the latest standards-based best practices to effectively communicate safety information. Typical text-only signs, like the one below, may meet minimum state requirements, but go unnoticed. Their ad hoc assortment of written warnings fail to call attention to the most important safety messages that need to be followed in pool environments. Tragic accidents occur when water safety signs go unheeded; consider the potential outcome of a child left unattended, a non-swimmer not wearing a life jacket, or someone diving into shallow water.

Pool safety sign

Pool safety signs based on the latest best practices can help to better protect people and reduce liability risk. Today’s best practices include:

  • Compliance with the latest ANSI and ISO safety sign standards, including providing complete content on the hazard and how to avoid the hazard
  • A systems approach: repetition of messages to communicate the most important water safety warnings at various critical points
  • Tailored content to be specific to the environment at hand
  • Bilingual messages to communicate to multi-national audiences
  • Graphical symbols for immediate noticeability and more universal comprehension

Pool safety visuals

The last item on that list – graphical symbols and comprehension – is an important one. After developing our best practice sign system using internationally-formatted graphical symbols, here at Clarion, we took an approach that’s never been done before: we put the signs’ effectiveness at conveying intended messages to the test. Results of  extensive comprehension testing (performed through a partnership with nationwide, third party experts) confirm that the signs’ symbols, text and design enable people to effectively understand the most important pool safety messages – resulting in more meaningful communication.

Sign comprehension testing

This type of safety sign comprehension testing provides you with the evidence needed to prove that safety messages are effective and that your legal duty to warn has been met. In addition, viewer polls of the Clarion sign system as a whole show the effectiveness of signs working together to communicate safety messages. Over 85% of test participants agreed that the pool safety sign system is “better” at promoting pool safety than other common pool rules signs.

Does your pool sign system give you the confidence to know that you’ve proactively reduced liability risk for your organization and – more importantly – kept people safe? We’re here to help with more information on effective safety signs and best practices.