Floor marking relies on two important objectives - to create safer and more organized spaces. When organized processes and safety work together, floor marking makes sense in virtually every space. From manufacturing facilities, chemical processing plants, food processing plants, medical facilities, schools, warehouses, and more - 5S floor marking standards are smart. They’re also general requirements by OSHA CFR 1910.22 for keeping walking-working surfaces clean, orderly, sanitary, and safe.
The OSHA floor marking guide dictates how businesses mark aisles and passageways. These requirements include:
- 29 CFR 1910.176 (a) Use of mechanical equipment. Where mechanical handling equipment is used, 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 must be appropriately marked.
- 29 CFR 1910.22(a)(1) “All places of employment, passageways, storerooms, and service rooms must be clean and orderly and in a sanitary condition.”
- 29 CFR 1910.22(a)(2) “The floor of each workroom is maintained in a clean and, to the extent workable, in a dry condition. When wet processes are used, drainage must be maintained and, to the extent workable, dry standing places, such as false floors, platforms, and mats must be provided.”
- 29 CFR 1910.22(b)(1) states, "Where mechanical handling equipment is used, enough safe clearances must be allowed for aisles, at loading docks, through doorways and wherever turns or passage must be made. Aisles and passageways must be kept clear and in good repairs, with no obstruction across or in aisles that could create a hazard."
Creating specific spaces with floor marking will not only help you create safe and organized spaces – but comply with OSHA for keeping fire extinguishers, eyewash stations, exits, aisles, and more clear and easily accessible with floor signs and floor marking tape.
Benefits of Using Floor Marking
Beyond what the warehouse floor marking guidelines state, there are benefits to going beyond the standards.
Faster visual searching
Marking an area with specific symbols or colors gives your employees an advantage. By categorizing areas and supplies, employees can locate them quickly with ease. This increases productivity.
Emphasize safety and other important information
Safety is important, particularly in industrial areas. Factory and warehouse floor marking is an effective way to give workers important information about hazards and other issues. It can also help lead the way to safety equipment and exits.
Floor markings are not just for safety or floors. You can use them to create associations with products, equipment and materials. Marking a product, piece of equipment and the materials necessary with the same color or shape increases productivity. This helps with gathering materials or products by quickly identifying the tools necessary.
Add visual cues to important information
A symbol or colored line gives workers important visual cues. This can lead them to exits, safety gear, equipment or emergency procedures. Although the Osha floor marking guidelines help, making absolutely sure that employees understand where to go and what to do without intervention can save time in an emergency.
Warehouse floor marking creates spaces that allow employees to apply visual controls over their operations. At a glance, employees will be able to see if things are in place, out-of-place, or if they need to order things like tools, material, etc.
One of the most useful processes for the second step of 5S, the Set in Order phase is floor and aisle marking. During the Set in Order phase, selecting areas that need organized processes and reduction of waste to create more functional workspaces. Designating specific spaces on your floors will allow you to get the most out of your floor space. Additionally, ensure your workers and visitors have ample space to move safely.
Learn more about the Set in Order phase here
5S Floor-Marking Color Guide
Although floor marking is a simple procedure, it’s best to avoid the urge to start placing the tape on the floor immediately. You'll want to create a plan. After you've thoroughly cleaned your floors select the specific colors you’d like to use to create organized spaces.
A successful floor marking process includes these 5 tips:
- Get your employees – your greatest assets – involved. Ask them questions about areas that need improvement and get their buy-in for smarter floor layouts. For instance, move a few machines closer to each other or move the red-tagging area to the back of the warehouse. Whatever their suggestions are, consider all alternatives before you start laying down floor marking.
- Get the details, all of them. Consider making a sketch of the area and marking it with a pen to make sure everything fits. Once everyone agrees on the new and improved layout, mark each area with your thorough plan of action. For example, this machine moves, this area is marked with yellow, etc.
- Keep it simple. As mentioned earlier, it’s important to keep your color choices to a minimum. Otherwise, the color-coding will not make sense to employees and visitors. You want to help them make better use out of their workspace, not confuse them.
- Show pathways and aisles. The two most popular colors of floor marking are yellow and red. Marking aisle ways and identifying scraps are often a top priority.
- Corner markers or shapes. Know your options. It’s easy to create functional spaces on your warehouse and production floors with the right cut shapes.
When you decided to select floor marking, consider choosing colors that make the most sense for each area. For instance, certain colors might work better for one area but not for others - like the color red for quality issues. Consider selecting a color other than red for equipment, sanitized, or processed areas.
The idea is to limit the number of colors you decide to use. Too many floor colors will make it harder to create standardized spaces on your floors. You’d have to create a road map so employees and visitors understand the meaning of each color floor marking on your floors.
Our Floor-Marking color guide will help you maintain the same standards throughout your facility:
- Yellow: Use for aisles and pathways within a facility. *Yellow floor marketing is usually the most convenient and inexpensive way to mark aisles and passageways.
- White: Mark equipment, general production, workstations, carts, floor displays, and racks
- Red: Identify defects, scraps, rework, and red tag areas
- Orange: Choose material holding or holding areas for inspection
- Black/Green/Blue/Purple: Mark areas with raw materials, work-in-progress items, and finished goods
- Red/White Striping: Isolate areas to be kept clear for compliance and safety reasons
- Black/White Striping: Specify areas to be kept clear for operational and workflow purposes
- Black/Yellow Striping: Mark cautionary areas that may expose others to physical or health hazards
Keeping your floors safe and functional is easy with an extensive variety of floor marking products.
Not all floor marking is equal!
Remember warehouse floor marking needs to stand up to forklifts and cranes as well as a lot of foot, pallet and cart traffic. Packing and manufacturing areas need the durability to withstand shuffling, scuffs, drops and constant contact. It is important that your floor marking is durable enough to meet the challenge.
With a large variety of floor marking in the industry, here’s a quick reference for finding the right material, durability, and finishing for your application.
- Tough-Mark™ Heavy-Duty Floor Marking Strips, Shapes, and Printed Messages – The best choice f The best choice for superior durability, performance, and easy-to-apply floor marking solution. Tough-Mark™ material is the future of floor marking and stands up to everyday abuse, including forklift traffic – all backed by a one-year guarantee from the date of sale.
- Floor Stripe™ High-Performance Marking Tapes – Low profile, polyester tapes have high gloss overlaminate with a high tack, acrylic adhesive backing. Great for high-traffic locations.
- Slip-Gard™ Floor Tapes – Pebble textured marking tape is extremely durable, low-profile, with an aggressive weather-proof adhesive.
- Reflective Tapes – Reflective tapes have a ‘bounceback’ reflectivity that improves daytime, low-light, and nighttime visibility. With a permanent adhesive peel-off liner, this tape is suitable for various applications.
- Standard Marking Tapes - Durable vinyl adheres to floors and more while providing a waterproof, wear-resistant permanent self-adhesive back.
- Glow-in-the-Dark Tapes – Photoluminescent marking tapes glow in the dark in a green-yellow color. Marking tape is energized by any light source and has a permanent acrylic adhesive back
Create an organized atmosphere in your plant, warehouse, or production floor and improve safety and productivity.