If you are updating your facilities floor marking system, you will want to make sure you are following all of the current standards regarding how this is done. This includes making sure you are using a durable floor tape, and also positioning it properly. Perhaps most important, however, is following the floor marking tape color standards.
The color standards have been largely established by OSHA in their standard CFR 1910.144, which is titled “Safety Color Code for Marking Physical Hazards.” While this section covers more than just floor marking tape, it should be used whenever choosing any type of hazard communication markings.
Why Follow these Color Standards
In most cases it is not a legal requirement to follow this type of color standard for floor marking tape. Even when it is optional, however, it is a good idea to always work within established guidelines from OSHA.
There are two main reasons why you will want to follow the color standards:
OSHA Updates – It is possible that OSHA may update their regulations to make floor marking tape colors a required standard. If this occurs, it will be better to start off in compliance rather than having to make changes in the future.
Avoid Confusion – Since most people working in a manufacturing facility will recognize the color standards from other uses, or working in other facilities, it could be confusing if you start adjusting what each color means. On the other hand, following the common usage of these colors will help ensure everyone can learn the process quickly and easily.
In addition to these two reasons for following the standards, there is no real reason not to make an adjustment. Since there would be no benefit in adjusting the colors away from the OSHA standards, it just makes good sense to follow them.
Floor Marking Tape Color Standards
The following are the color standards that should be used in all facilities. It should be noted that OSHA has only defined a few color options because they wanted it to be as easy as possible for everyone to learn what each color means.
In addition, having a limited number of colors defined makes it possible for individual facilities to set up their own color standards for other things, which will be discussed later.
Yellow Tape – Yellow is used in aisle ways, traffic lanes, and smaller work cells.
White – White should be used for things related to equipment and/or fixtures such as workstations, carts, stand displays and racks.
Blue, Green and/or Black – These colors are used on or around raw materials, finished goods and work-in-progress items that are being stored within a facility.
Orange – Materials or products that are being held for inspection
Red – Products with defects, scrap materials, items that need to be reworked, or red tag areas
Red & White – Red and white floor markings are for areas that need to be kept clear due to safety and/or compliance reasons. This would include areas near fire extinguishers, eyewash stations, electrical panels and other similar areas.
Black & White – This color combination is for areas that need to be kept clear for non-safety or compliance reasons. Anything related to generation operations.
Black & Yellow – These colors are used together to mark off areas that have a physical health hazard present.
You may notice that some of these options list multiple colors. When this is the case, the tape being used will be striped with the listed colors. This is done to help draw attention to the tape, and also indicate that there is a special reason why employees need to be alert.
This is typically done to indicate some sort of danger, or another safety issue. So, whenever people see stripes, they should immediately become more alert to their surroundings.
As you can see, these color standards cover more than just safety items. They also help to improve the overall organization of a facility. By using this type of floor tape to mark off the different areas in a facility, everyone will know what types of things go where.
This can help to avoid confusion and improve productivity, while also helping to improve the overall safety of the facility.
Other Floor Tape Colors
If you need to convey other information to your employees by using floor tape, you can always select an alternate color that has not already been defined by these standards. When you do this, make sure you always provide proper training to everyone in the area so they know exactly what the new color means.
In addition, do what you can to pick a color that is not close to one used in the above list of floor marking tape colors. This will help to avoid confusion and reduce the chances of people misreading the colors, especially when they are approaching them from a distance.
Combining with Floor Marking Signs
Another great way to improve on the already good standards put forth by OSHA is to combine the floor tape with floor signs. Adding, for example, floor tape that has words printed on it to clarify a message is a great option.
A Guide to OSHA Safety Signs
This Guide to OSHA Safety Signs walks you through the recent updates to OSHA and ANSI sign requirements. You’ll learn the required components of OSHA safety signs, including tips for formatting and posting your signs.
You can have yellow floor tape placed around an area, and then print off a label that says, “Pallet Jack” in black letters. This will not only help ensure everyone is aware of what that area is being used for, but it will also help to keep people reminded of what each of the colors means.
You can also add things like stop signs or arrows to the floor that will provide additional detail that everyone in the facility can use. Whenever using floor marking tape, the goal should be to help improve the communication within the facility. Anything you can do to help the employees in this way will be of significant benefit.
Whenever adding floor marking tape to a facility, you need to make sure it is done properly so that there is no unnecessary confusion. For example, when using yellow marking tape to identify an aisle, you don’t want to have multiple aisles crossing each other.
If there is one aisle that goes across a hall way, make sure that the yellow tape in the aisle stops, while the tape going in the other direction continues. The tape will start again after the open area so that it is clear which people have the right of way. This can help to avoid any problems or accidents that could otherwise occur.
In addition, it is important to make sure that everyone knows that that floor marking tape is there to help provide guidance, but not to replace people paying attention to their surroundings. All safety in a facility relies on employees watching their surroundings, and making decisions on how to keep everyone from danger.
In some cases, this may mean stopping while traveling in an area where they have the right of way. This is because there are many times when someone else may be traveling with an obstructed view, and it is always best to be overly cautious, rather than risking an accident of any type.
Choosing the Right Floor Marking Tape
No matter how well everyone knows what these standards mean, the tape will do no good if it comes off quickly or loses its coloring. This is why it is so important for all facilities to only use high quality for marking tape.
SafetyTac tape, for example, has been proven over time to be an extremely durable option that can stand up to virtually any environment. Choosing this type of tape will allow you to complete the installation quickly and easily, and then be confident that the tape won’t have any problems for many years.
Whatever brand of tape you choose, make sure it is installed properly and it will be able to survive in your specific facility. This is especially important when you will be installing tape both inside and outside, since the different environments will put different stresses on the tape.
Floor Marking Tape in your Facility
It is clear that floor marking tape can provide many different benefits to your facility. It is an affordable, durable and easy to use. It can provide a number of great benefits ranging from improving efficiency to reducing safety hazards. For most facilities, there is really no reason not to purchase and install floor marking tape.
Before taking any action, however, you should take the time to plan out where you will use each type and color of floor marking tape in your facility. This will help ensure you don’t make any mistakes on where tape should go when it is being installed. It will also help you to make the best possible purchasing decisions on how much tape, and what colors, you will need.
So take some time to walk through your facility and identify where you feel people could benefit from this easy communication option. You can create a map of the facility and write down which color tape you want to go where, which will make it much easier to install the tape when it arrives.