One of the most easiest, affordable and quickest way to create organization and safety in the workplace is by the use of colored tape to differentiate safety and hazard zones. There are currently no government mandated or widely accepted industry standards for regulating what colors should be used when marking floors. However, it is important to standardize floor markings and enhance 5S initiatives. Most companies today use the 5S floor marking color guidelines that comply with the OSHA 1910.144 standard. This color scheme can be used to visually separate processes, work areas and pathways. In addition, it provides recommendations for identifying facility storage locations for materials, product, tools and equipment.
The color scheme purposefully limits the colors to encourage easy learning and ready recognition of specific areas in the workplace among employees. However, it can also be modified to suit the specific operational priorities, processes and characteristics of individual facilities. Once colors are chosen for their specific identification, employee training is important so everyone is on the same path for creating a safe, organized work environment.
The 5S floor marking color scheme recognizes blue as the border color for materials and components, including raw materials, work-in-progress, and finished goods. Using the color blue for all material storage areas creates a visually clear environment that helps employees quickly correlate blue for the purpose of storing products, tools and equipment. If further designation is required for raw materials versus, WIP and finished goods, different colored labels can be used to distinguish between the various material types.
Blue tape can be used to mark floors as safe places for storing product away from other material that may cause contamination. Sectioning off hazardous areas with blue tape can also be used as warning signs alerting employees that their safety could be in danger if one would enter beyond the blue border. Text warning signs many not be enough when it comes to protecting the safety of employees and visitors. The brightly colored blue tape is much more visible and will catch the attention of the people working or walking through the facility.
Businesses experience changes and improvements in both busy and slow seasons. Many times storage areas need to be changed to embrace more or less inventory. Blue vinyl tape can be easily removed from floors to create larger or smaller areas for storing product. When business is slow and employee numbers are down, it only takes one person to remove and install smaller storage areas with vinyl tape. But sometimes a facility will double in business overnight and when that happens, larger storage areas can also be created quickly and easily by one person. This is why more and more business owners are using floor marking tape instead of paint. Paint requires areas to be shut down due to fumes and curing time. Painting aisle markings requires more time to install and remove and is not as affordable as tape.
OSHA encourages facilities to limit the colors when coordinating floor markings. Blue tape is recommended as the border color for storing materials and as a warning sign to keep unauthorized personnel from entering the bordered off area. Blue tape is one of the best solutions to implement and achieve safety and organization in the workplace.