OSHA (or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) states that the aisles used for transporting heavy mechanical equipment should be kept clear and “clearly marked’, but it doesn’t say much about how safety managers are supposed to do this.
Specifically, it states that “sufficient safe clearances shall be allowed for aisles, at loading docks, through doorways and wherever turns or passage must be made. Aisles and passageways shall be kept clear and in good repair, with no obstruction across or in aisles that could create a hazard. Permanent aisles and passageways shall be appropriately marked.”
Most loading dock and warehouse managers solve this problem with simple floor tape, also called “marking tape” or “caution floor marking tape.” Tape like this comes in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and even messaging. While OSHA doesn’t specify certain colors for certain purposes, there are certain common standards followed within the warehouse and manufacturing industries, thanks in part to the “5S methodology” developed by Japanese engineers in the 1950s. Developing the method for Toyota Industries at the time, the 5S method was once referred to as simply the “Toyota Production System.”
While there’s plenty to learn about the 5S Methodology itself, the piece which we’re interested in is a series of color standards used in manufacturing industries. The info-graphic below from Crowd Control Warehouse shows how 5S systems recommend using various floor tape colors to convey various messages. We’ll outline the color standards below as well.
5S Recommended Color Standards
- Yellow is used for normal aisle ways and traffic lanes.
- White is used to marking equipment placement.
- Blue, Green, and Black are used to mark production materials and components.
- Orange is used to mark items that need an inspection.
- Red is used to mark products that are defected or used for scraps.
- Red with white is used to mark areas that need to be kept clean for safety compliance.
- Black with white is used to mark areas that need to be kept clean for standard workspace.
- Yellow with black is used to mark high-risk areas, or areas posing potential health hazards.
Based on these recommendations, most factories and warehouses have plenty of zones that would require visual markers such as floor marking Caution tape. So what’s the best way to apply that marking Caution tape?
How to apply caution floor marking tape:
Applying floor marking Caution tape works much in the same way as any other decal application. Here are the simple steps required for installation:
- Before you install the floor marking Caution tape of any kind, you will want to remove any old tape. You can use a paint scraper or any similar piece of equipment for this process.
- Once any old paint or tape is removed, you will need to thoroughly clean the surface. You should use a de-greasing soap but avoid citrus cleaners. Once you’ve finished cleaning with a de-greaser, then you can clean with standard soap and water.
- Measure out the start and endpoint you want for your floor marking Caution tape, using chalk, pencil, or lasers to mark the line you’d like to follow.
- Do not remove the tape backing all at once. Instead, you will want to start at one end, gently removing the backing, then stretch out the Caution tape along the line gently removing the backing as you go. This video offers a good demonstration of the marking caution tape installation process.
Other safety markers
There are many other ways to create a visual or physical barrier in your work zone and in fact, many of the alternatives also allow color coordination with the 5S color system. For instance, if you need more than just a marking and instead are required to have some sort of barrier, you may want to use one of the safety barrier types found here at Crowd Control Warehouse. This includes retractable belt barriers, standard caution tape, plastic posts, chain stanchions, safety and traffic cones, and more.