OSHA’s Standards for Floor Marking

3 min read

When planning a floor marking strategy for your facility there are many things to keep in mind. It can be tempting to just plan out what types of markings you need, and where they should go, based on your specific goals. While that is certainly important, you also need to make sure your plan is in line with the OSHA floor marking standards.

In many situations OSHA requires that facilities use specific types of floor markings, or that they are placed in specific areas. This is to help improve workplace safety and ensure there is a consistent usage of floor markings in facilities throughout the country. Taking some time to learn about the general concepts behind these requirements will ensure that you are in compliance with them once your markings are in place.

Start with the OSHA Requirements

One of the best ways that you can plan out your floor marking strategy is to start out by focusing on what OSHA requires. This will let you get those things out of the way in your planning, and then you can move on to do any additional floor markings that you feel would help your facility improve. The following are some areas where OSHA has given guidelines for floor markings:

  • Near Fire Suppression Equipment – If you have fire extinguishers or other similar equipment you may need to have floor markings around the area where it is kept. This will help keep people from putting things in front of it and blocking access. It can also be helpful to use floor markings to direct people to where this equipment can be found.
  • Around Electrical Systems – Electrical equipment can be dangerous if a person, or even an object, comes into contact with it. Having floor markings around the area where this electrical equipment is located will help keep people away.
  • Evacuation Paths – Emergency evacuation paths can be much easier to find and follow if there are floor markings guiding the way.
  • Aisles – Marking aisles has specific requirements such as how much room the markings need to be from the edge of any shelves or other objects.
  • Vehicle Areas – Any areas where vehicles such as hi-lows or forklifts travel will often need floor markings to ensure they know the traffic rules in the facility.
  • Many More – OSHA has both required and optional rules for many things within most workplaces. These are just some of the most common areas where they offer their insights.

Keep in mind that this list was just an overview of the general concepts that OSHA has in place. If you have any of these types of situations in your facility, you will want to read the specific text of the OSHA regulations to ensure you meet their demands. In many cases, you can even reach out to OSHA directly if you need additional guidance. Contrary to popular belief, OSHA’s main goal is not to find violations and issue citations. Instead, they want to make sure workplaces are as safe as possible. With this in mind they are often happy to go over requirements and in some cases even send someone out to help plan safety improvements.

Floor Marking Color Standards

In addition to giving guidelines on where floor markings should be used, OSHA often has information about what color the floor markings should be. This is important because it allows national, and even international, standards to be set for this type of thing. That way when someone moves from one facility to another, they will at least understand some of the key meanings of floor markings. This can be especially helpful when it comes to safety. While OSHA does encourage following floor marking color standards, they do not have any strict requirements.

Most people will recognize some of the most common colors for floor markings, and know what they mean even without having received any training. This is because the standards have been well-followed in many different environments for a very long time. Even those who don’t work in manufacturing or other similar fields typically have a general idea of what certain colors indicate.

For example, black marking tape is most commonly used in aisles. This is true in warehousing as well as public areas like supermarkets. Yellow, and especially yellow with black stripes, generally means that caution needs to be taken in an area. More specifically in manufacturing facilities it means that drivers of indoor vehicles need to take caution and follow established traffic patterns.

Training and Implementation of Floor Markings

It can take some time to come up with the right plan for your floor marking strategy. Putting this effort in ahead of time, however, will help ensure your facility gets the most benefit from the floor markings. Taking OSHA requirements and recommendations into account when planning your strategy will give you a great place to start.

Once you know what markings will go where throughout your facility, it is time to start having them installed. This can be done by experienced contractors, or maintenance teams already working for your facility. While the markings are being installed, make sure to provide your employees with training on what they mean so that everyone can follow the guidance given from the very first day.

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