Hazard Communications – One Tool That Can Help

Floor Marking Tape Continues to Help with Hazard Communications

Keeping a facility running safely and efficiently can be very difficult. While most companies try to improve safety whenever possible, they often miss some obvious problems. This is illustrated by the 2011 report from Workplace Safety Pro, which listed the top 25 general industry violations. When looking through the list, one big thing really stands out is that many of the top hazards are all about hazard communications.

For example, the #1 violation was that facilities don’t have an effective written program for hazard communication. The third most common violation was that companies don’t properly provide hazard information and training to employees. Going down the list, it is clear that most companies don’t do a good job when it comes to communicating potential hazards that exist throughout the facility. This is unfortunate because there are some very simple things that can be done to help communicate risk, and help people avoid accidents and injuries.

Exposure to hazardous chemicals is one of the most serious threats facing American workers today.

-U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis

Hazard Communications Floor Tape

Floor tape is one of those items that every facility needs to have, because it can be used for so many things. One of the most obvious uses for floor tape is to help improve hazard communication. Since it comes in so many types and colors, it can be a staple for any facility safety program. While each facility will need to set up their own standards, the following are a list of great ways a company can use floor tape to improve hazard communication.

  • Identify Hazardous Areas – Many facilities use red floor tape to clearly mark off areas that have an elevated risk factor of some sort. Depending on the facility, it may be enough to just use one color to show that there is an added risk, and the employees will know to take precaution. This is typically for smaller facilities, but the concept can work anywhere.
  • Color Coded Hazards – For larger facilities, or those that are looking to have a more detailed hazard communication plan, it is a great idea to use several different colors to identify different risks in the facility. For example, Orange can represent a falling hazard (and the necessity to wear a hard hat). Red could represent a heat or scalding risk. Green may represent a toxic gas or other similar risk (and the importance of protective clothing). Coming up with the right color codes, and training the employees on them, will help this type of program be more effective.
  • Moving Machinery Reach – Since many machines have moving parts which may not appear dangerous from a distance, it is a good idea to use floor tape to mark off the area where the machine may reach. Having this visual boundary will help alert employees working in the area that the machine may be in motion, and that they are at risk if they are inside the indicated area on the floor.
  • Driving Areas – Most facilities have vehicles like hi-lows and fork lifts which drive around the facility. These vehicles are often electric, which make very little noise. This presents and obvious risk, and is a problem when it comes to hazard communication. One great way to make sure people don’t get hit is to identify exactly where these vehicles can travel, and in which directions. This is easily done using floor tape. The tape can make lanes for the vehicles, and also identify areas where it is safe to walk.
  • Wet Floors – Floors often get wet near entrances to a facility, and this can cause major risks for slip and fall accidents. You can purchase floor tape that provides additional traction, even when wet. This tape will not only help prevent falls, but it will also alert them to the potential risk. This is a great way to protect both employees and visitors who enter the facility.

There are, of course, many other ways to mark the floor with tape to identify risks. As long as the facility takes the time to come up with a comprehensive program, and provides the necessary training to the employees, floor tape can be a key component in improving hazard communication at a facility. While this is a great improvement, the fact is that floor tape isn’t actually limited to being used on the floor.

Additional Ways to Communicate Hazards

Marking off hazards on the floor with this type of tape is a great idea, but it is really just the beginning. Many facilities use this tape to wrap sections of pillars in a set color to communicate a message. For example, identifying different sections of a facility with different colors is a great way to segment the facility up. Each color area can have a set escape route for fire emergencies, or a specific shelter-in-place spot during severe weather. Having the ability to section off the building quickly and easily will allow people to respond to emergencies much more quickly, which translates to a safer environment.

Another great way to use floor tape to help improve safety is to use it to identify where safety equipment is. Wrapping a pillar with a specific color when the pillar has a fire extinguisher on it will allow people to be able to see where it can be located, even from a distance. Use a unique color for all emergency equipment including automated electronic defibrillators (AEDs), gas masks, emergency eye flushing stations and many more.

It is important to note that wrapping a pillar with colored tape does not mean wrapping the entire pillar from top to bottom. Simply wrapping a section that is 8 -12 inches wide will be more than enough to be seen from almost any distance within the facility. This also makes it possible to have one pillar marked with two or more colors, when necessary.

Many facilities get creative when using floor tape, which is a great way to improve safety communication. Writing messages on the tape, for example, can be a great temporary solution to conveying a message when a sign or other option is not available. The fact that it is easy to use and affordable allows companies to find many great uses for this great tape.

Why Floor Tape

Floor tape is a great option for all of these types of uses because it is inexpensive, easy to use, and very effective. In addition, it lasts a very long time so the safety will continue long after it is applied. Facilities can stock up on a variety of types and colors of floor tape, which will allow them to react quickly when they identify a need for it. They can also replace any floor tape that does happen to get damaged over time.

Floor tape is also effective for both indoor and outdoor areas. When applied properly, it can withstand heavy indoor traffic areas, or outdoor environments with severe weather. For such an affordable solution, it is really the best return on investment when it comes to improving hazard communication.

Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the importance of communicating potential hazards in the facility. Not only does this put you employees and facility at risk of accident and injury, it also puts the company at risk for fines. The top 25 general industry violations report referenced above shows that in the top 10 spots alone there was over 1.75 million in fines related to hazard communication alone. Many of these fines could have been avoided by using safety floor tape, which costs just dollars per roll.

Remember, all facilities are responsible for letting their employees know about potential hazards in the area. Don’t have your facility become a statistic on a safety report in the future. Take the time to improve your company’s hazard communication today. Contact Creative Safety Supply for all your tools related to floor marking and hazard communications.

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