Q: What types of warning signs should we post around our ministry?

A: Warning signs are needed when dangerous conditions on ministry property can create liability in the unfortunate event of an injury.

Dangerous Conditions

Conspicuous warning signs are especially important for potentially dangerous conditions and where the public is not allowed. Fences and other barriers should also be considered, where appropriate. These dangers include:

  • Ravines, ledges, cliffs, and other major natural features
  • Natural and artificial ponds, including retention ponds
  • Storm culverts
  • Roofs
  • Highways

Storage Areas

Ministries should also be cautious of places where machinery or chemicals are used or stored. Keep these areas locked or otherwise kept away from the public. Ministries should consider using warning signs restricting access to authorized personnel and warning of the specific nature of the risk for each area:

  • Mechanical/furnace rooms
  • Storage areas for cleaning supplies and other chemicals
  • Storage areas for maintenance equipment and supplies
  • Electrical rooms and equipment areas
  • Active construction sites

Public-Use Facilities

Some facilities are intended for public use, so ministries need to strike a balance between warning and welcome. Such facilities include:

  • Playgrounds
  • Dedicated and unofficial skate parks
  • Swimming pools
  • Parking lots
  • Sports fields and courts

Additional Recommendations

Here are some additional recommendations about warning signs:

  • Ensure that warning signs are legible and conspicuous
  • Enforce policies announced by warning signs
  • Have warning signs approved by an attorney or other professional before use
  • Where possible, do not rely on warning signs alone
  • Regardless of signage, periodically inspect your property for dangerous conditions

Recommended Resources

If you found this information helpful, you might be interested in this other resource from Brotherhood Mutual:

Learn how to Avoid Hazards at Parking Lot Entrances.

*Important information: Brotherhood Mutual is pleased to provide Legal Assist as a complimentary resource. The services we offer through Legal Assist are intended to provide general legal information to our current and prospective policyholders.

The information we provide is intended to be helpful, but it does not constitute legal advice and is not a substitute for the advice from a licensed attorney in your area. Accordingly, no attorney/client relationship is created through this process, and no legal advice will be provided. We strongly encourage you to regularly consult with a local attorney as part of your risk management program.