Retail managers are dangerously underestimating the health and safety risks of sign installation and maintenance and their own liability,

according to new research from sign firm Xmo Strata, which has many contracts in the forecourt sector. Much of the work is done at height, involves electricity and, because of the fuel in the vicinity, has ’hazchem’ issues.

One hundred retail managers were questioned for the survey and 46% of them said they considered sign work to be less dangerous than work in the construction industry.

Xmo Strata managing director Steve Martin warned that legal liability for accidents rested not just with the retailer, but potentially with individual site managers. "The law requires the employer (ie the customer) to provide a safe working environment and, if a sign fitter falls while working at height because the customer has failed to adhere to health and safety regulations, it is entirely possible that he could sue that customer and not his own employer."

Xmo Strata won the Achiever of the Year award at the SHP (Safety and Health Practitioner) magazine and IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety & Health) awards. Judges said Martin was "a great example of health and safety being led from the front".