It’s Time to Review the Rules of Floor Marking
If you’re looking at updating your facilities floor markings to help improve the safety of the company, it is important that you take the time to ensure you’re doing it right. Spending time up front in planning and implementation can help you avoid a lot of wasted time and effort down the road.
The following five rules for floor marking can help improve the way your company marks the floors, which will help to make for a much safer workplace. If you’re not already following these important rules, consider adding them to your existing policies and procedures right away.
Rule #1 – Standardize Your Floor Marking Materials
It is important to ensure your entire facility is using the same materials when it comes to marking the floors for any reason. It is highly recommended to use floor marking tape, since it comes with many different advantages, which will be discussed later. Even if you choose to go with floor marking paint, however, it is good to use it in the same way throughout the facility.
By standardizing the material throughout the facility it is easier to make sure you have everything you need in stock, without having to keep multiple different types of materials on hand at the same time. This can not only save money, but it can also help to keep the facility more organized.
If you’re not sure about what type of floor marking material you want to use, look at some of the following great benefits to choosing floor tape:
- Easy to Use – You can install floor tape very quickly, and have it ready for people to walk on almost immediately. Paint needs time to dry, and generally takes longer to apply as well.
- More Versatile – Floor tape comes in many different types. You can choose the thickness of the tape based on your needs. For example, SafetyTac ARMOR floor marking tape is shatter and break resistant with an ultra-rigid 104-mil heavy duty composite material. You can also have just about any pattern printed right onto the tape, which gives you lots of great options.
- Durable – Industrial strength floor tape can last longer than floor paint in almost any environment. From foot traffic to vehicles, this tape can stand up to even the most hostile of workplace scenarios.
- Affordable – Even the most expensive floor tape is still extremely affordable. Given the benefits that you’ll enjoy from using it, the costs are almost nothing.
Rule #2 – Follow the OSHA Floor Marking Standards
OSHA has a set of guidelines that instruct many facilities on which colors are to be used in what types of situations when it comes to floor markings. While not all industries are required to follow these guidelines, it is a good idea even when it is optional. The following are some of the important rules regarding the colors used for floor marking, provided by OSHA:
- Black & Yellow: OSHA has long been using black and yellow together to represent caution. When marking your floors, consider using black and yellow floor tape in areas where people need to watch out for specific hazards, such as a ledge that they could fall off of.
- Solid Yellow: Solid yellow is the standard for marking aisles and other passageways. According to OSHA, any aisle must be a minimum of four feet wide, so keep this in mind when putting down the yellow marking tape to create any type of aisle in your facility.
- Black & White: Black and white is what OSHA has mandated for use where a boundary exists. Whenever people see black and white striped floor tape, for example, they should immediately know that they are approaching a spot where they need to stop and take caution. This could be where a staircase begins, or even where a safe zone begins or ends.
- Red & White: If you’re marking your floors with anything related to fire safety, you’ll want to use red and white tape. This could be marking an area where a fire extinguisher is stored, or even creating escape routes for fire related emergencies.
- White: White markings are used by OSHA to identify safety equipment of any type. This could be anything from a first aid kit storage area, to the location where personal protection equipment is kept.
- Other – There are numerous other colors and even patterns that OSHA recommends for helping to identify specific safety issues. If your facility has a specific risk, take the time to look up what OSHA suggests in that scenario, and put it in place. If they don’t have anything listed, you can always check out our floor marking guide.
Following the OSHA guidelines when it comes to floor markings is a great way to ensure your company does not run into any compliance issues during an audit or an inspection. Even if your company is not part of an industry that is required to follow these floor marking standards, it is a good idea to do it anyway.
This will ensure you don’t run into any problems should the company change in the future, and it will also keep you in line with what other facilities across the country are doing. Whenever possible, standardization is a benefit, since it will help everyone stay on the same page. This includes new employees, and even visitors from another facility.
There is really no reason to deviate from an OSHA standard, even if it is not strictly required for your facility. In fact, these standards can often help you to save time in what type of planning you need to do when setting up your floor marking system.
Simply looking at an existing set of standards, which has been proven effective in thousands of other facilities, will allow you to focus on the implementation, rather than just choosing things like the color of the tape that is to be used.
Rule #3 – Regular Inspection & Maintenance of Floor Markings
Many companies that set up a floor marking standard policy do a great job at first, but then over time the floor markings get dirty or damaged. It is just as important to plan out how these markings will be maintained over time as it is to know how they will be installed today.
There are a number of things you can do to help ensure you don’t run into any problems with your floor markings in the future. The following should be a part of your long term floor marking maintenance plan:
- Identify Where All Markings Are – Having a map that shows where all of the floor markings in the facility are located, and what they are for is a great way to ensure everything is able to be inspected properly.
- Schedule Inspections – Inspecting all floor markings on a regular basis will help to find any damage that has occurred, and take steps to repair it. When a piece of floor marking tape gets torn, for example, you can remove a small piece and replace it so it doesn’t continue to get pulled up in other areas.
- Ensure Proper Cleaning is performed – Having the maintenance staff properly clean the floor markings on a regular basis is very important. If the floor tape gets too dirty, it won’t do any good since people won’t be able to see it. Cleaning this type of floor marking is very easy and requires very little extra work to be done properly.
- Standardize Repair & Replacement – Making sure that any floor marking tape is repaired or replaced whenever necessary will help keep the entire facility looking nicer, as well as safer. It is never a good idea to ignore even small problems with this type of tape, or it will eventually lead to the tape being useless or even removed completely.
These steps may seem simple at first, but they can help ensure the floor markings in your facility are in place, and easy to see at all times. When you have a set plan of action on how to maintain them, it does not take much to keep everything looking nice for a long period of time. This is, of course, essential to the long term safety success of your facility.
Rule #4 – Try New Things
For many things in a facility it is a good idea to move slowly and really think about whether or not something is the right move. Updating machinery, for example, can cost millions of dollars, so balancing the timing on this type of thing is essential.
For floor marking strategies, however, it costs very little and there is virtually no down side to making a change in the facility. With this in mind, everyone in the facility should be encouraged to bring new ideas on how floor markings can be used to benefit the company.
No matter what the idea is, it should be considered by the facility, and unless there is a strong reason not to, it should be implemented. In the event that it doesn’t work out as planned, the markings can be removed and there is no real loss. On the other hand, it is likely that many of these ideas will lead to significant improvements for the facility.
With that in mind, take the time to really think about different floor marking options, and how they may be able to help your facility. Some of these ideas can be directly about safety, and others can be ways to improve efficiency, or even just be fun for the facility. The following are some examples of some ideas that may be used in facilities:
- Custom Floor Signs – Creating floor signs is a great way to quickly convey information. These can be ordered through a third party, or printed off on an industrial label maker. Printing images of hi-lows, for example, can help show where a hi-low should park.
- Company Logo – You can encourage teamwork and comradely by printing off a company logo and placing it in aisles or other areas of the facility.
- Traction Tape – Placing floor tape that offers improved traction can help to prevent slips and falls near entrances and exits.
- Reflection Tape – Having aisles marked with tape that will reflect the light will help people see, even when the light in an area is not the best.
When you encourage employees to come up with their own ideas of how floor markings can help, there should be a steady stream of great ideas to choose from. Some will be big, and others will be small, but they can all help to improve the way the facility operates.
Rule #5 – Training
It doesn’t matter what type of floor markings you use, or how well laid out your plans are if your employees don’t know what the markings mean. Taking the time to train your employees on what the different colors of floor tape mean, and what types of action should be taken when they are seen, is extremely important.
Fortunately, this type of training does not take too much work as much of it has become industry standard. For example, the solid yellow aisle lines are used by virtually every facility. They are even used on the public roadways to separate lanes.
In addition to simply training employees on what the colors and designs of the floor markings mean, however, it is also a good idea to train them on how to identify any problems with it, and where they should be reported. This will help to find issues so they can be fixed much more quickly.
Improving Your Overall Workplace Safety
When you follow the above rules for floor marking, your facility will operate more safely and efficiently. By making the effort necessary to come up with an effective floor marking strategy, you will be showing the facility that this is an important part of the overall safety strategy for the facility.
SafetyTac floor markings has a proven track record of improving facility safety in many different ways. Given the fact that SafetyTac floor marking tape is very affordable, and long lasting, it is clear that this should be one safety improvement that everyone can agree on.
Contact a Creative Safety Supply representative at 1-866-777-1360, for all your floor marking questions and needs.