Mark Floors with Hazard Tape
If you are in charge of safety at an industrial facility, you most likely have hazards that you want employees to know about. There are plenty of methods for alerting workers to these hazards such as safety signs and labels, training and emergency drills, and today we want to discuss another effective method: hazard floor marking tape.
Floor marking tape can perform many functions in the workplace including marking aisles, creating traffic lanes and aiding with organization. It can also be used to mark many kinds of hazards.
Hazard tape typically has stripes and comes in a variety of colors including yellow and black, red and white, black and white, and green and white. You are not required to use one of these color combinations over the others, but OSHA and ANSI standards offer suggestions for how to use some of these colors.
Yellow and black tape, for example, is often used in areas where physical or health risks are present, while red and white tape is used in areas that should be kept clear for other safety reasons. Black and white tape can indicate an area should be kept clear for operational purposes. You do not need to follow these recommendations, but it is a good idea to make sure the colors of floor marking tape you use in your facility are standardized. (A full list of color recommendations for floor tape can be found in this free Floor Marking Guide).
So what types of hazardous areas should you mark? Let’s look at six common areas that businesses often mark with hazard tape.
Hazardous Chemicals & Atmospheres
When employees could come into contact with dangerous substances (either through touching them or breathing them), hazard tape around the area or throughout the area (as seen in the photo above) can alert them to the dangers.
In some cases, these areas may store hazardous chemicals, while in others chemicals may be in use in work processes. When the atmosphere is hazardous, this could be because of a chemical, a dangerous gas like carbon monoxide or oxygen-deficient air. Marking the boundaries of the area with hazard tape and posting safety signs related to required PPE will provide helpful visual reminders to employees about the dangers present.
Dangerous Noise Levels
Many workplace sources such as power tool use, machinery and vehicle traffic can create high noise levels, and these noise sources can begin to cause hearing damage at levels as low as 85 decibels, which is less than the noise level created by truck traffic.
If your facility has areas that consistently create dangerous noise levels, marking them with hazard floor marking tape can draw attention to this problem. Hearing damage is an irreversible injury, so it’s important employees are aware of the risks of workplace noise.
The electrical panels in your workplace can pose hazards to workers, especially if work is being performed on your facility’s electrical systems. You likely have restrictions in place about who is allowed to access and perform work on electrical panels, and by marking these areas with hazard tape you can remind workers that not everyone can enter these areas. Electricity poses a serious hazard, and OSHA frequently cites employers for problems related to electrical issues. Clearly marking these hazards will benefit everyone.
Dangerous Equipment or Machinery
Just as you might not allow all employees to access electrical equipment, you likely wouldn’t want just anyone getting close to dangerous machinery without appropriate training or credentials. Highlighting the dangers of this equipment can prevent things like cuts, pinching injuries, crushing injuries and other serious accidents.
Bumps that Could Impede Travel
Are there any permanent fixtures on the floor that could impede vehicle or pedestrian travel? In the photo above, you can see that small metal latches on the floor have been marked with hazard tape. Without the tape, these metal pieces wouldn’t be very noticeable, but now they stand out from the rest of the floor.
If your facility has any unusual obstructions on the floor, mark them. They may not seem like huge hazards, but they could cause needless problems for your workers.
Fall or Tripping Hazards
In addition to any bumps or other inconsistencies in the floor, you should mark anything else that could create a fall or tripping hazard. Commonly marked fall and tripping hazards include ledges, stairs and holes.
Slips, trips and falls are some of the most common accidents in the workplace (across all industries), and highlighting them with floor tape is an easy way to help prevent them. You can even use hazard tape that also provides traction, which is especially helpful in the winter when melting snow and ice from shoes can make the floor slippery.
Mark Hazards, Prevent Accidents
When combined with other methods for preventing accidents such as signs, labels and safety training, hazard floor marking tape can make your workplace a visual one where accidents are less common.
To learn more about how to begin marking the floors in your workplace, take a look at the SlideShare below.