Anyone even remotely following the news understands the heightened need for security and safety in every environment, including the workplace. Because of this, companies and institutions are increasingly using digital signage to expand the reach and frequency of communication.

Digital signage can help safety professionals and others deliver critical messages more effectively, raising awareness throughout a facility and improving the ability of employees and visitors to respond to any type of threat. Here are five of the most important ways digital signage improves safety communications:

1. Visual Communication

Digital screens facilitate the use of attention-grabbing imagery and video to convey and reinforce messages. In today’s visually oriented world of YouTube videos, film and television, visual communication captures attention far more effectively than static, textual media, especially in business environments where people are focused on their work.

2. Audio Communication

Further enhancing the effectiveness of digital signage is the use of audio communication. Sound magnifies imagery to more strongly grab the attention of viewers, which is exceedingly important in emergency scenarios. It is also worth noting that visual and audio communication can be digested and remembered more thoroughly than verbal or textual information. In this regard, digital signage offers safety professionals a highly effective way of communicating training, alerts and procedural information as well as emergency response messages.

3. Strategic Placement

Through the use of digital screens in high-traffic areas within a facility, safety messages are more likely to be seen by more people more often. Unlike static communication tools (e.g., posters, message boards, etc.), digital signage can be conveyed and refreshed regularly, improving the likelihood that an audience pays attention and internalizes critical safety information. In addition, digital screens can be deployed in remote areas of a facility, helping to ensure that emergency messages reach all employees and visitors.

4. Multi-device Messaging

Organizations with a strategic digital communication system can convey messages not only on public digital screens but also on desktop monitors, mobile phones and tablets. In emergencies, this capability can literally make the difference between life and death. For instance, individuals isolated in the facility during a severe weather event will be able to stay informed by accessing information on their mobile phones or other connected devices as opposed to not knowing what might be happening in or around their work environment.

5. Central Control, Flexible Delivery

Digital signage offers safety professionals a high degree of flexibility and control over communications. With a digital system, messages can be modified at a granular level where messages can be adjusted on each screen at a facility or for a group of facilities. In emergency situations, having the ability to communicate directions based on the location of a digital screen becomes exceedingly important. For recurring procedural and informational messaging, the tone and style can be modified to suit the particular audience. In addition, digital screens facilitate the flexible use of multi-lingual communication — another important consideration in many workplace environments.

The Medium Matters

While safety professionals rightfully focus on crafting the proper safety strategies and procedures, they must also focus attention on how safety messages will be communicated to specific audiences at the right place and right time. When this communication is done well, companies and their employees can realize the benefits of a safer, more responsive work environment.