This is a surprise! OSHA does NOT have requirements for safety color coding in the workplace. But ANSI does. The American National Standards Institute suggests labeling areas with seven colors for safety or organizational categories.
Use the same color scheme throughout your facility, using only a few colors. Consistency and simplicity make it easier for workers to remember.
Employees should have regular training on the color meanings.
Colored safety tape on floors should be durable and survive heavy vehicle traffic.
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Dan Clark: Hello! This is The Safety Brief, where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s industrial and construction worksites. I’m Dan Clark.
To stay safe at work, you don’t need a rainbow of colors. A simple color coding system can help protect workers. It’s a way to manage space visually. There are many, many benefits to color coding: a safer environment, fewer accidents, better organization, increased production and it creates a well-organized workplace reducing the anxiety in workers and managers.
But, here’s the big surprise: If you can believe it, OSHA doesn’t have much to say about color coding. They don’t regulate it. But here comes ANSI to the rescue, kind of.
ANSI, the American National Standards Institute, offers general color assignments:
* Red – for hazards and fire equipment.
* Orange – is dedicated to organization.
* Yellow – means caution, for marking walkways and aisles.
* Green, blue and black – are related to workflow, for marking things that are in progress.
* White – is something of a left over with ANSI, often marking storage areas or whatever you want.
Well, here are some color coding tips, because it’s kind of a wild, wild, west out there with not much regulation:
#1. Be consistent. Use the same colors across all departments. An employee switching departments needs to be informed by the same color scheme to stay safe.
#2. Use the colors everywhere. Don’t overlook any parts of the workplace, color code in all areas.
#3. Stick to a few colors. Instead of selecting all of the seven ANSI recommended colors, just go with a few because it’s easier for the workers to remember.
#4. Choose durable tape. If you have forklifts and other vehicle traffic driving over taped asphalt or concrete, you want that tape to be high quality. It’s much easier to install it once, than to have to replace it every two months.
#5. Training. Ensure the employees know the colors you’ve selected and what each means.
Well, that’s it for color coding and this episode. Come back for more tips and techniques on how to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. This is Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. See the website at creativesafetysupply.com
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