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Find the Best Path to Electrical Safety with Floor Marking

By: Kevin Fipps, Contributor

Floor marking can protect workers from being struck by forklifts and other moving equipment. Image courtesy of Graphic Products.

The best route isn’t always a straight line. Today’s industrial workforce must navigate traffic, energized equipment and complex facilities. To ensure the safety of personnel working in industrial areas, it is important to properly mark hazardous areas and equipment. Floor marking is a great way to identify and protect workers from potential risks. Floor marking uses lines and symbols on the floor to make people aware of important workplace features and boundaries. This type of marking helps to increase safety awareness among employees and reduce the risk of accidents. Furthermore, having clear markings designating hazardous areas also helps employers demonstrate their commitment to employee safety, giving them a competitive advantage over other companies who may not have taken these measures yet.

Improve Visual Clarity

Floor marking provides visual clarity in an otherwise cluttered environment. It’s easy to overlook potential hazards when your workspace is filled with machinery and other equipment. By clearly delineating which areas are safe, it makes it easier for personnel to identify potentially dangerous areas and take appropriate precautions when necessary. Additionally, floor markings can help workers quickly find the proper tools or materials they need for a task, reducing the amount of time spent searching for items onsite.

OSHA Requirements for Floor Marking

OSHA requires that all walking and working surfaces are inspected periodically, and kept clean, safe and accessible (29 CFR §1910.22). Where mechanical equipment such as forklifts are used, safe clearances must be maintained, and permanent aisles and passageways must be appropriately marked (§1910.176).

OSHA’s general color code for marking hazards, described in 29 CFR §1910.144, only uses two different colors: red for “Danger” (marking severe hazards), and yellow for “Caution” (marking less severe hazards). The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard Z535 uses red for “Danger” and yellow for “Caution,” just like the OSHA color code. They also use orange for “Warning” (for hazards that are not as extreme as “Danger,” but are more serious than “Caution” might imply). The ANSI Z535 standard adds green for safety messages and information, and blue for notices that provide other, facility-specific information. While these color assignments are described to be used on signs and labels, the same general colors can be used for floor marking.

Floor marking lines must be at least 2” wide to ensure maximum visibility, though the agency recommends lines to be 2” to 6” wide. Aisles should be at least 4’ wide, or 3’ wider than the largest piece of equipment used in the aisle. OSHA allows facilities with unusual surfaces (including dirt floors) to use flags, traffic cones, barrels and other similar methods, as long as employees are trained on the system used.

Take Safety to the Floor

Effective floor marking must be easy to understand so everyone can navigate safely at a glance. Improve safety and efficiency with clear floor marking lines and signs.

  • Mark clear pathways: Protect pedestrians from forklifts, electrical panels, heavy machinery and other hazards.
  • Warn of hazards: Keep employees safe on loading docks, around dangerous equipment and around areas with exposed edges.
  • Deliver reminders: Identify required PPE at the borders to hazard zones.
  • Identify safe zones: Let employees know where to stand (or where to avoid) when operating heavy machinery and other equipment.
  • Improve traffic safety: Establish pedestrian-only paths, keep employees away from imbalanced or unsafe loads, and establish traffic controls for drivers.
  • Direct emergency traffic: Phosphorescent floor marking helps employees find exits and equipment in emergencies and other low-light situations.

Enhanced Training Opportunities

Floor markings provide an ideal opportunity for training personnel on safe practices in the workplace. By clearly identifying potential danger zones and providing visual cues as to where workers should avoid going or entering, employers can use floor markings as part of their onboarding process or refresher courses throughout the year. This serves as a reminder to employees that they should always follow protocol when working around electrical equipment, reducing the likelihood of preventable accidents occurring onsite due to carelessness or negligence.

Protect Workers and Your Bottom Line

Floor marking is an essential tool for any organization looking to enhance visual communication in their workplace. Not only do floor markings provide visual clarity for personnel navigating through hazardous environments, but they also help employers meet regulatory compliance standards and provide enhanced training opportunities for new and existing employees alike. Investing in high-quality floor marking products ensures that your organization remains compliant with current regulations while keeping personnel safe from potential hazards associated with electrical work sites – ultimately saving you money and trouble down the line! WMHS

About the Author 
Kevin Fipps is a safety professional based in Portland, Oregon. He has extensive safety industry training and planning experience at multiple global operations. He also authors a monthly safety column called, Tips from Fipps. Read more at 

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