OSHA require “that permanent aisles and passageways must be marked appropriately and in a consistent manner plant-wide” (OSHA Standard 1910.22). Beyond the OSHA regulation, organizations also seek to organize their workplace floors to improve visual organization and to increase the efficiency of the warehouse floor.
Unfortunately, the OSHA standard does not specifically stated the types of colors that should be used to mark floors. As a result, this has caused confusion and guesswork amongst warehouse managers who are trying to keep up with the OSHA regulation that aisles and passageways must be marked appropriately.
Some have wrongly referenced the ANSI Z535.1 Safety Color Code as a guide for selecting floor tape color coding, but that is incorrect as earlier versions of the standard included color specifications for specific safety hazards and equipment, not floors. In later versions of the standard, this color coding only refers to safety signage.
As a result, many manufactures have adopted different policies regarding the color scheme and there has been a lot of debate surrounding which color scheme is best to use. That said, there is a basic color code standard recommendation that is used which is widely accepted and generally complies with the OSHA standard, although again this specific color scheme is not documented by OSHA.
Below we describe this standard floor marking tape color scheme and when it should be used:
Yellow – designates heavy traffic aisles and lanes.
Black – should be used in areas where finished good inventory is being kept.
Red – is commonly used to identify areas of scrap/waste in the facility. Each area should be separately marked.
Blue – blue should be used for areas in which there is work in process. Each area should be separately marked.
Orange – should be used in areas such product or materials inspection.
Green – first aid locations and/or raw material areas should use green.
White – white should be used specifically to mark carts, benches, machines and all other equipment that does not fall under any other color guidelines.
Black and White – black and white color is usually used to identify an area that is used for work flow. It means that the area should be kept clear of individuals and forklift traffic.
Red and white – red and white tape are used to identify an area to be kept clear for safety reasons such as electrical panels, fire extinguishers and all others that may be dangerous, etc.
Black and Yellow – this color combination is important as it identifies areas where dangerous materials are kept or areas which may be unsafe. Harmful materials like combustibles, chemicals and toxic materials may be present and extreme caution should be used.
While understanding and using this basic color scheme will allow your company to be in compliance with OSHA Standard 1910.22 of ensuring that aisles and passageways are marked appropriately, the additional benefit is that you will have an industrial workplace which is visually organized and will make the workplace even more safe and efficient.