Floor Marking Color Code Guide | OSHA Standards

Floor Marking Color Code and
OSHA Regulations

Benefits of color-coded floor marking

Having a consistent color standard for floor marking and understanding the regulations that influence these best practices will help you create and maintain a safer, leaner and more efficient facility. We created a floor marking color guide, driven by OSHA guidelines, in addition to helpful application tips and floor marking examples.

Using consistent, color-coded floor marking in your workplace can lead to a number of benefits including:

  • Speeding up visual searches
  • Emphasize information
  • Show associations
  • Transmit important messages

Floor Marking Color Standards Guide

With the right colors in the right places, you can easily keep workers on the right path, identify equipment and storage areas, hazardous areas, forklift traffic and more.

This color guide will help your floor marking be consistent in your workplace:

Color Area
Yellow Yellow Aisle ways, traffic lanes and work cells
White White Equipment and fixtures not otherwise color coded(workstations, carts, floor stand displays, racks, etc.)
Blue Blue  
Green Green Materials and components, including raw materials, work-in-progress and finished goods
Black Black  
Orange Orange Materials or products held for inspection
Red Red Defects, scrap, rework and red tag areas
Photo-Luminescent Photo Luminescent Steps and perimeter demarcation to identify egress routes in a lights-out emergency
Red & White Stripe Red White Stripes Areas to be kept clear for safety/compliance reasons
(areas in front of electrical panels, fire fighting equipment, and safety equipment)
Black & White Stripe Black and White Stripes Areas to be kept clear for operational purposes
(not related to safety or compliance standards)
Yellow & Black Stripe Black and Yellow Stripes Areas that may expose employees to physical or health hazards

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Floor Marking Color Standards Examples

Here are areas we recommend identifying and the floor marking colors that are best suited for the job:
Aisle ways
and traffic lanes
Work Cells and
equipment borders
Material storage
QA Inspection areas
rework areas
Stair Marking
Keep clear- Safety
& compliance marking
Keep clear -
Operational areas
Hazardous areas

Note: Use as few colors as possible to make it easier for employees to remember the meaning of each color and reduce the number of floor marking products you need.

OSHA regulations and Industry Standards

While several OSHA regulations dictate that permanent aisles and passageways must be clearly marked, there are no current government-mandated or even widely accepted industry standards that recommend what colors to use when marking floors.

Some resources reference OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.144, the Safety Color Code for Marking Physical Hazards. However,
these specifications are extremely limited in scope and are not designed to provide guidance on color usage when marking floors either. The standard states that red should be used to identify fire protection equipment, emergency stop devices and containers holding dangerous materials. Yellow should be used for marking physical hazards (such as striking against, stumbling, falling,
tripping and caught-in-between hazards).

Furthermore, OSHA removed the text, “Permanent aisles and passageways shall be appropriately marked,” 1910.22(b)(2) from
their Walking Working Surfaces text in November, 2016.

However, a similar reference is made in their Material Handling and Storage 1910.176 section.

1910.176(a) Material Handling and Storage

“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 shall be appropriately marked.”

Standards that require or imply a need for marking

When it comes to workplace visuals, there are a number of relevant standards that require or imply the need for marking and color coding.

OSHA - General Environmental Controls

“Red shall be the basic color for the identification of fire protection equipment and apparatus, containers of flammable liquids, stop buttons and electrical switches used for emergency stopping of equipment.
“Yellow shall be the basic color for designating caution and marking physical hazards.”

OSHA - Means of Egress

OSHA will deem an employer demonstrating compliance with the exit route provisions of NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, or the exit route provisions of the IFC 2009, to be in compliance with 190.34, 1910.36 and 1910.37.”

Brady's Floor Marking Guide

Did you find this information helpful? If so, make sure to download our FREE Floor Marking Guide. It’s a printer friendly PDF that contains all this information and more!

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