Floor Marking Tape Color Standards

Although it is not a legal requirement to follow any particular color standard when using floor marking tape, it is highly advised to create consistency across the industry and reduce potential confusion.

A set of standardized color standards have been established by OSHA in their standard CFR 1910.144, Safety Color Code for Marking Physical Hazards, which has formed a set of visual hazard communication that nowadays is easily recognizable. For business owners, sticking to well-known floor marking color schemes is the logical approach as it allows them and their employees to gain a more accurate understanding of how effective systems can be implemented across the organization. Since most people working in a manufacturing facility will already have an understanding of the OSHA color standards, creating a new system could create a level of confusion and miscommunication between employees. Following the commonly used colors when applying aisle marking tape means everyone is working from the same common understanding and the system can be picked up quickly. For most businesses, there is no real reason not to follow the OSHA color standards, and this way it becomes easy to align with any updates to regulation, complying from the offset instead of potentially having to make confusing changes later down the line.

To keep it simple and effective, there are a limited number of colors defined by the standards which makes it simple for businesses to apply while keeping it simple for employees to remember. To keep the standards simple as a whole, OSHA has only defined a few color options which cover the primary uses, creating a wide understanding of the key floor marking colors so any more unique business needs can be added to a business-by-business basis without the official system becoming overly complicated.

In some cases, floor marking tapes are available in more than one color, for example, black and yellow. This refers to striped tape designs which are used to draw extra attention to an area. More often than not, this kind of floor marking is applied to signal a hazard, alerting people of what is in front of them as soon as possible so they can approach with caution. This type of tape should be used only in particular circumstances to maintain its effectiveness, highlighting any immediate dangers to reduce the risk of hazard.

OSHA floor marking color guidelines:

  • Yellow
    Used to direct the flow of traffic in aisles or lanes, reducing the risk of collisions and creating a more productive flow through a site.
  • White
    Used to organize assets and goods for a more tidy workplace. Often depicts where to store equipment and tool carts or where workspaces and fixtures should be positioned.
  • Blue, green & black
    Used to update employees on the current situation of goods, depicting whether they are finished goods, currently being worked on, or are in their raw state.
  • Orange
    Used to show products that are being held to one side ready for inspection.
  • Red
    Used to keep defective items separate from others so broken goods, scrap materials, or goods in for repair do not get mixed up with work items.
  • Red & white
    Used to show areas that must be kept clear at all times for safety reasons. These areas may include fire exits, eyewash stations, or electrical panels which need to be accessible at all times.
  • Black & white
    Used to keep an area clear for the efficiency of the workspace, though not a necessity by health and safety standards.
  • Black & yellow
    Used to display a hazard, marking off an area that contains a possible risk, such as heavy machinery or moving vehicles.

Additional Resources