OSHA Floor Marking Regulations

Written By Iniesta Estable on Saturday, July 28, 2012 | 9:49 AM

It is one of the mandates of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), tasked with the responsibility to provide guidelines for protection of America's employees, for industrial facilities to be appropriately marked on their floors with symbols and boundaries that promote organization and worker welfare. To this end, OSHA has prescribed that such locations clearly mark any existing physical hazards, and lay out the proper markings for aisles and pathways, which should be of an adequate width to allow adequate passage for either persons or mobile machinery, according to the needs of the structure. OSHA floor marking is another important element of this system, denoting a specific color code to be used to identify certain objects or draw attention to specific concerns. This isn't quite `s complex as one would first assume - the only colors involved are red, which is utilized to point out the presence of fire protection equipment, like fire extinguishers and fire hoses, and yellow is used as a warning color, to designate areas where caution ought to be exercised.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has added to the OSHA regulations for color coding with its own recommended set of meanings for particular colors. Though these are only advisory and not legally required, their usage has become widespread enough that most industrial facilities adopt them for the sake of uniformity. The popularity of the ANSI color scheme has reached the point that many people have mistakenly identified it with OSHA, and treat it as such. For the sake of clarification, it must be noted that OSHA floor marking protocols do not endorse any particular color scheme other than OSHA's own red and yellow markings, and even these are merely directory in nature. If a certain workplace follows a different color coding system, that is up to the management of that facility, so long as the color coding scheme adopted is posted in conspicuous places in the building and employees are adequately made aware of it.

The ANSI color scheme also uses red and yellow, but to somewhat different effect. Yellow is used as a standard color for lines and walkways, and is also used to mark areas where tripping or stumbling is a likelihood. Red, associated generally with danger or risk, is used in the ANSI method to point out sources of danger, or areas that are prohibited due to the injury that they might cause. As for other colors, orange is utilized by way of warning employees that there is machinery up ahead that might pose a threat to employee welfare, especially if handled improperly. Conversely, green is used to mark safety equipment and devices that are used to reduce risk, such as protective goggles, eye washes, and spill showers. Green is also the color used to mark medical supplies, for purposes of first aid. Blue marks are utilized to mark equipment that is in need of repair or currently undergoing repair, and cautions employees not to attempt usage of machinery that is malfunctioning or defective. The ANSI color scheme is not that difficult to recall, but as noted earlier, it is entirely up to you whether or not you wish to follow it.