One of the best parts about performing safety inspections in facilities is helping managers come up with solutions to their safety problems. In one recent case I was performing a full safety inspection with the manager of a mid-sized manufacturing facility. Overall, the inspection went quite well. There were some minor issues here and there, but nothing too significant. The biggest problem was related to the safety markings on the floors of the facility.
Painted on floor markings directed where the indoor vehicles could travel, which areas were designated for walking, where certain items were to be stored, and a number of other things. Unfortunately, this facility had a lot of activity, and the paint on the floors was peeling off, and in some places virtually gone. Even in one wing of the facility where they had just repainted the floor markings it was already beginning to show significant signs of wear. In addition, there was dust and dirt in some areas that made the floor paint even more difficult to see.
Replacing Floor Paint with Floor Marking Tape
The manager had expressed frustration at the fact that their floor markings were so ineffective. He had attempted to keep the paint visible by ensuring the maintenance staff cleaned the area frequently, but that only caused the paint to chip and peel more quickly. If they cut back on cleaning, the paint would quickly become covered and effectively invisible.
I recommended replacing the paint in the facility with high quality safety floor marking tape. This floor tape could easily outlast the paint in any area. In addition, there were a number of big advantages the facility would enjoy from using this alternative floor marking system.
The manager was willing to give it a try in one area of the facility to see how it worked. We started with one of the most heavily trafficked areas, and got to work identifying what types of tape we would need.
Types of Floor Marking Tape
The manager was not aware that there were dozens of different types of to choose from. As we walked through the area, I made some recommendations on what types of floor tape we would use, and why. The following is a list of the different tape types we used:
Aisle Marking Tape – The bulk of the markings would be done with aisle marking tape. It is very durable and comes in a variety of colors. The manager decided to match up the color of the tape with the existing color of the paint, since the employees were already used to the color scheme and the different meanings each color had. Since aisle marking tape comes in virtually every color of the rainbow, this wasn’t a problem.
Anti-Slip Floor Tape – Near the entrances we choose to go with anti-slip tape. While there wasn’t currently paint in the area, I suggested that this tape could help to prevent injuries by giving people additional traction, even if the floor was wet. The floor tape is made for high-traffic areas, and is durable enough to stand up to just about anything.
Reflective Floor Tape – In areas where there was low light, or where the indoor vehicles were driving, I recommended reflective floor tape. This is a great type of floor tape that has reflective material built right in. When headlights, flashlights or other lights shine on the floor tape, it becomes extremely visible and easy to see. Even without the direct light, however, the floor tape is a bold color and can be seen by people walking by.
Hazard Floor Tape – Any areas where there was a specific hazard, we used tape to identify the risk. Whether it was an area with moving machinery, or somewhere that harmful chemicals were used, the hazard tape would warn people in the area to be careful.
Ultra Durable Floor Tape – One area just outside the entrance was used for storing some inventory parts. We decided to place an ultra durable type of safety tape around the area so everyone would know where the inventory would go. This would also help ensure that area didn’t get too sloppy, since the inventory needed to fit nicely within the tape boundaries.
The floor tape that we would need was then ordered. The manager of the facility was looking forward to giving this new system a try, since he had been struggling with the floor paint for years, without success.
Installing the Safety Floor Marking Tape
Once the tape arrived, we got to work with the maintenance staff installing the tape. They began by cleaning the floor and letting it dry, so the floor tape would be able to properly stick. Lying the tape floor down is an easy process, but care must be taken to ensure it goes on straight and even. One tool that helped us was the use of a SafetyTac Industrial Applicator (like this one). This tool helped with the longer runs and larger areas.
The entire area of the facility got the new floor marking tape installed in a single day, and the manager began watching to see how it would work. We instructed the cleaning staff to mop and clean the floors just like they normally would. Since the floor tape is specifically made for high traffic areas, it can stand up to cleaning as well as foot or vehicle traffic.
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The manager checked in on the area several times per week for about a month. At the end of this time he called me in to report that he was pleasantly surprised at the results. The floor tape was all still in place, and showing no signs of coming up. Even in areas where the vehicles drove over the tape on a regular basis, it looked like it was in great shape. In the past when he added new paint to the floors it would only be a matter of days or weeks before he began seeing signs of wear, so this was a marked improvement.
He was also thrilled because the floor marking tape was quite inexpensive, and once he weighed out the fact that he wouldn’t have to replace the floor tape nearly as often, it was actually saving the facility quite a bit of money. Of course, the improved safety was also a huge benefit for the manager, and the facility as a whole.
We made the order for enough floor tape to complete the rest of the facility, and had it installed as soon as it came in. Soon, the entire facility was working with new floor marking tape throughout the area. The employees were happy that they could now easily see the marking tape, and the manager was excited about how much better this was working than the paint.
Overall, the safety inspection, and follow up recommendations about the floor tape was a great success. The next year when I was brought in to do the annual inspection, the facility still had the same floor tape on the floor, and it was looking like it had a lot of life left in it. The manager was happy with the change, and said that it had already paid for itself in the savings from not having to paint the floor markings anymore.