The Irish General Election is just around the corner with the date set for February 8th. Keeping this in mind, candidates and their campaigners will be putting up posters in a constituency near you.
So, what should political candidates keep in mind when putting up their posters?
Have you considered the risks?
Start with the basics, what are the risks? Campaign posters come in all shapes and sizes, and end up in various locations. So how do you ensure campaigner safety, complete a risk assessment? For guidance on how to create a soundproof risk assessment and safe system of work, this guide from the Health and Safety Authority can help.
Are you using the right equipment?
We have all seen it before poor use of equipment, or not using the correct equipment can cause serious harm. Use ladders as a last resort. Candidates should ensure that all campaigners use the correct equipment when putting up election posters. For information around safety at a height visit hsa.ie
Make sure you are visible!
The dark mornings and nights are still upon us with no extreme changes for the next month or so. With this in mind, campaigners should make sure they are visible to road users, especially where there is low visibility on roads. Find more information on pedestrian safety here.
Know the minimum height!
The minimum height for election posters is 2.3 metres for areas accessed by pedestrians and cyclists. The National Council for the Blind has previously commented on the disregard some campaigners have for the visually impaired. In May 2019, Dublin City Council received 101 complaints relating to the height of election posters in the city, where one member of the public was injured. Also remember is unlawful to block traffic signage.
Location, location, location!
When it comes to location, there are rules candidates must follow to ensure public safety. Campaign posters often cause problems for road users and pedestrians. ESB Networks have stated that “ESB Networks wish to remind all groups and parties involved in the upcoming General Election that the erection of posters on ESB electricity poles poses a serious safety risk to ESB Networks staff, contractors and members of the public and is strictly prohibited.”
Mind the signs!
Election posters should never limit the visibility of road signs. The RSA states that "It is an offence to erect any sign or notice that makes a traffic sign less visible to road users or obstructs a view to such a degree that it makes the road unsafe for road users."
Be aware of the areas you are hanging posters. Think is this dangerous, could it cause an accident. For more information visit rsa.ie
Be environmentally aware!
The total number of election posters erected in 2014 amounted to 600,000. These posters were estimated to cause 360 tonnes of Carbon Monoxide. It is no wonder that 77% of the electorate feel that election posters should be banned. To take a proactive approach to reach our targets for sustainability, thinking of safer alternatives on the campaign trail can have a positive contribution. To find out how your campaign can contribute to a safer environment posterfree.ie
Have you discussed safety with your campaigners?
Making sure that your campaigners are safe and deliver a safe campaign. Discuss safe practices with members of your team and make sure they understand the importance of staying safe.
Always remember to use safe practices!
Educating your team on the best safety practices will keep campaigners and the public safe. It is important to remember the following:
Be compliant, or get a complaint!
Safety doesn't have to cost anything, think common sense, but being unprepared can cost your campaign. Failure to comply with safety rules could lead to prosecutions, fines and even civil lawsuits. These complaints can lead to the removal of election posters with candidates subject to fines from the relevant county council. Your reputation could be over before the election begins because you didn’t think about the above.
Using these tips can help you have a more cost-effective, efficient and safer campaign