Floor tapes are a staple in many organizations. They bring safety and order in many workplaces, particularly in industrial works and major construction. These tapes are used to mark everything from floor aisles and passageways to storage areas of equipment.
Floor marking tapes come in different colours, and each one has a specific meaning and use. If you are new to using floor and aisle marking tapes, it can be a confusing. Familiarize yourself with the proper colour coding of these tapes so you can use them effectively.
White is a basic neutral colour intended for everyday use. Items and areas that are marked with white floor tape do not pose any threat to safety. Use this on equipment and fixtures such as machines, jogs, workstations, carts, racks, and benches.
Yellow means slow down and use caution. This is the most common colour used in facilities due to its many applications. You can use caution tapes to mark aisles, passageways, or other areas that are potential slip and trip hazards.
Red signals “danger” or “stop”, and is used to mark areas and equipment that can bring about possible danger. You can find red floor tapes in and around fire protection equipment, stop signs, sprinklers, and near containers of flammable liquids.
Orange denotes “warning” and is usually associated with machinery, motorized equipment, or devices with exposed parts that may cause potential injury. Orange is also used to indicate communication lines such as alarms, telephone wires, and TV wires.
Blue is for general information, meaning it doesn’t suggest any hazardous condition. It may be used to indicate “caution” and can also be used to mark the location of equipment that needs repair and provides a warning not to operate the equipment.
Green means “go,” “safe,” or “good.” You can find green floor tapes in and around first aid supplies, eye wash stations, showers, safety information, or any equipment whose purpose is to improve safety conditions and minimize injury.
This type generally means “attention,” and requires your alertness. Striped tapes with two different colours usually mean the marked area is an electrical hazard, a dead end, or a drop/fall hazard. Red and white floor tape means the area is required to be kept clear for safety or compliance purposes. Black and white floor tapes are for areas that need to be cleared for operational purposes, while black and yellow indicate areas that may expose workers to special health or physical hazards.
Now that you have a basic understanding of what these colours mean and how to use them properly, here are a few helpful tips to get you started:
- Use as few colours as possible. Too many colours can spell confusion. Minimize the colours that you will use in your facility. This will make it easier for your staff to remember what the colours stand for.
- Assign specific colours with specific purposes. The usual practice among companies is to mark equipment locations using the same colour for aisles and work cell boundaries. But it can be more effective to use two different colours for two different work areas. When a facility differentiates between colours when marking specific work areas, it creates a clear visual that helps workers quickly identify colours with their purpose.
- Raw Materials, WIP (Work in Progress), and finished goods. Use the same colour for all material storage areas unless there is an important reason to use varied colours. You can also use different colours to indicate different materials.
- Do more with less. Instead of using three different coloured floor tapes, choose one colour for all applications with the same purpose. For example, use only red and white stripes to keep all areas with fire fighting equipment, safety equipment and electrical panels.
We all want our work facilities to be as safe and as organized as possible. Floor tapes can help you with that. But it’s not enough to stick these tapes in all the right places. You and your employees need to be properly trained on the colour coding system of your facility. This will help you maximize the use of these handy tools and create a safer and more efficient workplace.
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