Color Coding Safety for Industrial Facilities

December 26, 2012

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Paint color is an important consideration when it comes to creating a desired atmosphere for an industrial or commercial facility. In addition, industrial facilities need to consider color with regard to machine painting and floor traffic markings.

Professional industrial painting contractors are familiar with the best paint colors to use for color-coding and traffic markings that will ensure a safe working environment for your employees. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) provides suggested guidelines for color-coding your industrial facility’s safety markings, through the ANSI Z535.1 Safety Color Code Standard

Safety Signage

ANSI recommends using the following colors for safety signage:

  • Safety Red to identify stop and danger, such as emergency stop buttons, flammable liquids, and fire protection equipment
  • Safety Orange to flag warning or intermediate level hazards, including hazardous machinery parts such as moving gears, chains, pulleys, or components that may cause crushing or cutting injuries
  • Safety Yellow for caution areas like tripping, falling, or striking hazards, containers with unstable materials, and storage for combustible or flammable materials
  • Safety Green to identify emergency and safety equipment such as gas masks, stretchers, and deluge showers
  • Safety Blue to highlight safety information on bulletin boards and informational signs

Border colors

For floor traffic markings and borders, ANSI recommends:

  • Yellow for traffic lanes, aisles, and work cells
  • Orange for materials or products to be inspected
  • Red for scraps, rework, defects, and red tag areas
  • Red & White for areas that must be kept clear for compliance reasons
  • Black & Yellow for areas that represent physical or health hazards
  • Blue, Green, or Black for materials, components, and finished goods areas
  • White for all equipment and fixtures that aren’t otherwise color coded

Another rule of thumb for safety floor markings is to use as few colors as possible. Color-coding is effective for safety purposes only when employees remember which color means what. The simpler your industrial color safety program can be made, the better it will serve your facility.


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