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Mark floors to keep valuable lives separate from deadly hazards

Floor Marking Projects

Floor marking tape can be used to mark aisle ways, pallet storage areas, and to improve organization and flow. Glow in the dark floor tape can be used to illuminate dark areas and can help to reduce and avoid trips and falls in dimly lit areas. Reflective tape is helpful as it enhances visibility when a light source is aimed towards it. Floor marking shapes such as dots, corners, and T’s are a quick and easy floor marking solution to mark off storage areas to create better flow in the workplace. Floor marking paint is a cheaper solution to floor tape but often cracks, peels and requires constant maintenance.

What is Glow in the Dark Tape?

Glow in the Dark Floor Tape

Glow in the dark tape is made from a special phosphor that absorbs light radiation and then emits it back out. The process is known as photoluminescense and occurs when the phosphor gets 'excited' so the protons within begin moving rapidly.

When exposed to light, it will absorb the energy. The brighter the light, the more energy will be absorbed. As long as the phosphor has energy stored within it, the tape will be glowing. This can be hard to notice if there is a lot of ambient lighting, but once it is dark enough, the glow is very easy to see.

Reflective Floor Tape

What is Reflective Tape?

Reflective tape is made by taking glass beads, prisms and metals to allow light to be reflected back toward the source. Any light that is shined onto the tape will refract through the surfaces on the tape before it is finally reflected back, allowing it to be very visible.

This tape can come in many colors and grades including those approved by the US Department of Transportation.

Glow in the Dark Tape VS Reflective Tape

The following table will help you to choose the right tape for the job.

Situation Glow Tape Reflective Tape
Bathrooms - Outlining toilets & sinks Excellent because it does not rely on a constant light source. Not recommended because there is no light to be reflected
Outdoor Visibility for People (Jogging, Halloween Costumes, etc) Good option anywhere as it emits its own light. Only use for a few hours or less at a time. Only good near roads or other areas where light will be shined on the tape.
Parking Lot Markings Ineffective because of the long duration that the light is needed. Ideal because vehicle headlights will illuminate the tape as needed.
Aisle Markings in a Warehouse Ideal because lights are typically on to 'charge' the tape. It will glow during power outages or other emergency times. Not recommended because most people in warehouses won't be using flashlights or headlights.

Why Use Industrial Floor Markings

Industrial Floor Markings

Throughout the manufacturing and warehouse industries there is a lot written and spoken about floor markings. This can be confusing if you don't know where you will be using the floor markings and what benefits they can bring. Some people wonder whether it is worth it to use these types of markings at all. The following are some key reasons why so many facilities use industrial floor markings and the benefits they enjoy.

  • Organizational Improvement - Any increase in organization at a facility will reduce wasted time and energy. Identifying storage or staging areas, for example, can help to quickly let people know where things need to be.
  • Finding First Aid Equipment - In the event of an emergency, every second is critical. Having floor markings that can lead employees or emergency responders to things like fire extinguishers, emergency eye wash stations, first aid kits and automated electronic defibrillators (AEDs) can help to minimize injury or even avoid deaths.
  • Lean & 5S Methodologies - When following the lean or 5S methodologies to eliminate waste in your facility you can benefit from using proper floor markings. You can also follow the 5S floor marking color standards to maximize effectiveness.
  • Personal Protection Equipment - Using floor markings to alert people to when PPE is necessary is very effective. For example, your facility may use a dotted red line to indicate respiratory protection is required beyond a set point.
  • Navigation Assistance - Given the size and scope of many facilities, having floor markings to guide people can be very helpful. One color may lead to the nearest exit, another color to the main office, and so on. This can help people avoid getting lost, especially during an emergency.
  • Placement of Objects - There are hundreds or even thousands of objects placed throughout most facilities. Things like pallets, inventory, garbage cans, high-lows and more. Using floor markings to indicate where they should be placed when not in use can be very helpful at improving organization.
  • Traffic Direction - Any areas where there are vehicles driving, the floor markings can act like lines on a normal road. They can let people know where they should be driving, which direction and even at what speed. Just make a set of traffic standards and ensure everyone is trained on them.

Of course, these are just a few of the most common uses for floor markings in a facility. A full list of this type of thing would be nearly endless.

Proper Use of Warehouse Aisle Signs

Warehouse Aisle Signs

Warehouses are often quite large and busy. With people walking, vehicles driving and other items moving it is essential that everyone knows what they are doing and where they are going. Warehouse aisle signs can help keep everyone moving efficiently and safely.

Video: Smart Stipe Floor Tape
Floor signs can be especially effective since they are highly visible as long as you use clear floor marking and lettering. Some specific things to keep in mind when using warehouse aisle signs:

  • Keeping it Clean - Floor marking tape and signs can typically be cleaned using the same products as are used on the rest of the floor.
  • Proper Application - A smooth application will ensure the tape has a long life, even with indoor vehicles driving over it and people walking on it.
  • Follow Color Standards - If you have floor marking color standards in place, make sure you use them with warehouse aisle signs to ensure a uniform system for your visual workplace.
Floor Marking Color Standards Example

Floor Marking Color Standards

Following the color standards for floor marking doesn't have to be difficult. OSHA has published their recommended color standards. This will cover the most common uses for floor marking. Remember, however, that you can also make your own standards if you have to convey a set message using colored floor markings. Just make sure that everyone in the facility knows of the standard and it is followed properly.

OSHA's floor marking standards include the following:

Yellow Floor Tape Yellow tape (or paint) should be used for all normal foot traffic going through aisle ways (both indoor and outdoor) as well as vehicle traffic. Smaller working areas can also be marked off using yellow tape.
White Floor Tape White tape should be used for anything that is used related to facility equipment, fixtures, racks, carts and things of this nature. Outlining them with white tape alerts people to their presence and also lets people know where to put them when threw.
Blue/Green/Black Floor Tape These three colors are often used interchangeably because they can easily be confused with one another, especially in darker areas. They are supposed to be used near raw materials as well as around any finished goods or products that are in progress.
Orange Floor Tape Any products, materials or supplies that are currently being held for inspection.
Red Floor Tape Locations where defective products, scrap materials or items in the facility that need to be reworked should be marked with red floor tape.
Red & White Floor Tape Any area that must be kept clear for safety or compliance should be marked with red and white tape. This will typically be placed around fire extinguishers, emergency eye wash stations or to mark fire lanes.
Black & White Floor Tape Areas that need to be kept clear for general operations should be marked with black and white tape. This is not to be used for emergency or compliance areas.
Black & Yellow Floor Tape If there is a physical health hazard in an area, black and yellow tape should be used to mark off the area.

When planning out your color coding for floor markings you will want to keep some key tips in mind. The following recommendations are not legally required or even part of a set of standards. They are, however, excellent advice to help ensure the effectiveness of your color coding system:

  • Minimize the Number of Colors - Using as few colors as possible will make it easier for your employees and guests of the facility to remember what each one means.
  • Consistency is Essential - Following the same standards throughout the facility is very important. If your company has more than one facility, make sure the floor marking color standards are uniform across all locations.
  • Training is Critical - You must take the time to train all employees, contractors and anyone else who will be spending time in the facility on a regular basis. People must know what each color means, especially during a high-stress time such as an emergency.
  • More than Just Tape - Remember, the color codes should apply to more than just the lines on the floor. If you are using floor marking shapes or signs, the color standards should be consistent through it all.
  • Post the Code - Having signs up in strategic locations throughout the facility that lists the different colors and what they mean will serve as a constant reminder and refresher of the training that they have already received. In some cases, these types of workplace postings are actually required. This will also help any guests who are in the facility should they need to quickly know what something means.
Floor Marking Ideas

Excellent Uses for Floor Markings

Floor markings have been proven to improve visual communication within facilities, while also benefiting overall facility safety. Sometimes it can be hard to think of the different areas that can benefit from this type of tape, however. The following are some proven scenarios where floor markings can be beneficial. Read through them and see which ones will help for your facility.

Aisle Markings Having tape in place to guide people through aisles can be very helpful. It can also show people moving equipment when they are attempting to turn corners too tightly so they can avoid problems.
Identifying Proper Placements Using floor marking tape can help identify the proper positioning of things like trash bins, storage cabinets, indoor vehicles and much more.
Paths for Emergency Evacuation Many facilities are quite large so having floor markings that will guide people to the nearest emergency exit can literally be lifesaving.
Traction Improvement Using non-slip floor marking tape can help improve traction, especially in areas where the floor is likely to be wet.
Floor Signs for Safety Marking the floor with safety information can offer helpful tips at a glance.
Floor Marking in Outdoor Areas The ground in outdoor areas often needs to have proper marking to improve visual communication. This can be especially important at night when reflective floor tape can be used.
Preventing Falls Using tape to alert people to potential trip hazards or otherwise reduce the chances of falling can improve facility safety.
Following Production Paths Being able to follow the path of production can improve efficiency and allow employees to better track progress of production.
Identifying Specific Hazards When a specific hazard is present, such as chemicals or electrical shock risks, you can identify them from a distance using proper floor markings.
Marking Emergency Equipment Emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers, eye wash stations, AED's and more can be identified by floor markings. You can also ensure access to them won't be blocked by marking the floors around them.
Aisle Marking Example

Improve Your Visual Workplace Using Warehouse Aisle Markers

Similar to warehouse aisle signs, these markers can be very helpful in improving your visual workplace strategies. These markers, unlike most signs, typically convey a message using a combination of symbols, colors and other non-written information (though some may include words as well).

In addition to keeping floors clean and orderly, OSHA has long promoted floor markings in the workplace to improve overall facility safety. There are many types of warehouse aisle markers to choose from including things like arrows, foot prints, corner markings and more. You can also make custom markings using things like 3M floor tape.

The following are some key requirements imposed by OSHA and other agencies regarding warehouse aisle markings and general floor markings in most facilities:

  • Aisles or passageways that are permanent should be properly marked (using floor markings or other clear identifiers).
  • Sufficient clearances must be in place for all aisles so that vehicles can safely maneuver.
  • All passageways and aisles must be kept clean and free from hazardous obstacles (that may cover any safety markings).
Forklift Floor Markings Example

Effective Forklift Safety Tips for Your Facility

Forklifts are among the most dangerous pieces of equipment in the facility. OSHA says that, on average, 85 people will die in forklift accidents each year and another 34,900 will be seriously injured. 61,800 more are injured in a 'non-serious' way. Fatal accidents occur in a variety of ways, which can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Crushed by Vehicle Tipping - 42%
  • Crushed Between the Forklift and a Surface - 25%
  • Crushed Between two Vehicles - 11%
  • Struck by Falling Material (from a forklift) - 8%
  • Fall from a Platform on Forks - 4%

While there is a lot that forklift drivers can do to improve forklift safety, the facility as a whole can also contribute to solving this danger using floor markings. Using reflective floor markings to alert drivers to where a ledge is located, for example, can help to alert them to the danger even in dark areas.

Factory Floor Marking

Factory Floor Marking

Illuminate the Area with Reflective Safety Tape

Most facilities have some areas that are not well lit. Whether it is because machinery is blocking the lights or simply because the lights are turned off during certain times of the day, it is always essential to ensure people who are in the area can see hazards. Using reflective safety tape is a great way to avoid problems.

There are many types of safety reflective tape that you can use. The tape can come in a variety of grades, which will adjust the amount of light reflected back at the source. The higher the grade, the brighter the reflection will be.

A Bright Alternative - Photoluminescent Tape

There are some cases where reflective safety tape won't work. For example, if people are walking in an area and won't be shining a light, reflective tape doesn't work. Fortunately, there are other types of 3M floor tape that can solve this issue. One of the best options is photoluminescent tape, also commonly called glow in the dark tape.

This type of tape is made using a special phosphor that absorbs light radiation and then emits it back out through a process known as photoluminescence. While the lights in an area are on it will absorb more energy than it emits. When the lights are turned off, the energy continues to be emitted, giving off a visible glow.

Many Types of Floor Graphics

Floor Marking Graphics Example

While reflective or photoluminescent tape is a great option in some cases, it is not always necessary. Using caution floor tape that does not light up is typically going to be more than enough. The important thing when choosing your floor safety tape is making sure you meet all of OSHA's rules for floor markings.

To ensure you meet every requirement it is a good idea to not just go through the OSHA list of recommended floor markings, but learn about what makes a safe floor in general. Having clear markings is a great start, but it must continue on with making sure the floor is not slippery and is generally safe as well.

The following types of floor graphics can help you to improve safety quickly and easily since they are available in just about any floor tape store:

  • Safety Footprints - Using footprint shaped floor graphics is a great way to show people which way they should be walking.
  • Squared Corners - Whenever there is a corner along a warehouse aisle or other area, you need to make sure it is properly marked so people know to watch out for moving vehicles or other hazards.
  • Rounded Corners - Some facilities prefer rounded corners to make a smoother and cleaner look. Whether squared or rounded, marking corners is very important.
  • Stop Floor Sign - In some situations it is easier for people to see a stop sign placed on the floor than it is to see one on a post. Combining the two can help improve workplace visual communications.
  • Safety X's - As the saying goes, X marks the spot. Using X shaped floor graphics can indicate where any number of things should go in your warehouse or other facility.
  • Dots - Even simple dots can convey a clear message that people can see from a great distance. They can be color coded too.
Video: SafetyTac Footprints
Video: SafetyTac Corners - squared
Video: SafetyTac Corners - rounded
Video: Floor Stop Signs
Video: SafetyTac Xs
Video: SafetyTac Dots
Basketball Court Floor Markings

Easy to Apply Floor Stickers

One of the best things about all of these types of floor stickers is that they are extremely easy to apply. Whether they will be used as floor caution tape or sports floor markings or simple yellow warning tape, you really just remove the protective backing and apply them to a clean floor.

Once they are placed, apply weight to them by walking over them or rolling a heavy object over them. This will help to secure them so that they won't come up for a very long time. While it is extremely simple to apply floor stickers in you facility, it will go a long way in promoting safety in the workplace.

Gain Traction with No Slip Tape

No Slip Tape

Floor markings aren't just for improving visual communication in the facility. They can also be used to directly add to safety by reducing the chances of slip and fall accidents. Non-slip floor tape is made to help people retain traction, even if the area is wet, dirty or otherwise slippery. This is done by creating a rough surface on the tape that helps to maintain contact between employee's shoes and the tape itself.

No slip tape can come in long strips like normal tape or in shapes to apply to specific areas. This makes it possible for you to do things like add warehouse floor striping or even add floor tape for gyms where it can sometimes get wet.

You can even use clear floor tape that can add to traction without conveying any visible message at all. This is a very easy and affordable option for many facilities.

Virtual Floor Marking
Laser floor marking is just beginning to become more popular

Choosing Your Warehouse Floor Tape

With so many options it can be difficult to find the right warehouse floor tape for your needs. While looking through a floor tape store, make sure you have a general floor marking guide in mind. Plan out what types of floor markings you will need in your facility, and then pick out the products that will best meet your needs.

There are many recommendations out there from OSHA and other agencies regarding how you should mark your floors. While they can be useful, you need to remember that every facility is unique and has its own set of requirements.

Choosing the Simple Safety Walk Tape

One thing to keep in mind when planning what type of floor markings you will use is that it is often best to just keep it simple. Figuring out what the best and least expensive way to accomplish a goal will help you to save time and money while still getting the desired goals accomplished.

Video: Vinyl Floor Tape

In many cases, simple vinyl tape will work best. It is the most popular type of floor marking tape and is often used for 5S and lean strategies. It is very durable, comes in many colors and is extremely simple to use as a safety tape.

Simple Installation with Line Marking Equipment

Whenever using any type of safety tape you will want to make sure you have the right line marking equipment to have it properly installed. When installing long lines you can use a simple roller device known as an Industrial Applicator that will apply the tape perfectly on the floor in a straight line while also applying pressure to ensure it sticks properly.

Video: Lay SafetyTac to make Corners

While that is a great tool for straight lines, you'll also need to make sure you know how to properly apply tape around corners. This is also an easy process. You can either use pre-made corner pieces or follow the techniques listed in the linked video to quickly turn corners throughout your facility.

This type of equipment is a wise investment because it lets you complete jobs much more quickly and easily than attempting to do it by hand. With one line marking machine you can install yellow and black tape, safety tape, 3M marking tape, SafetyTac floor marking tape, OSHA safety floor tape, non-slip step tape, anti-slip tread tape, reflective tape and more.

Unwanted Floor Markings

Removing Unwanted Floor Marking Tape

Floor marking tape of all types is made to stick securely to the floor so that it doesn't have to be replaced or repaired for a long time. There are situations, however, where you will want to get rid of unwanted tape.

By simply scraping up a starting point and then pulling it up at almost a 90 degree angle you should be able to pull up long patches of tape at a time. Removing floor marking tape is simpler than most people would expect, as long as you follow the above mentioned technique.

Unwanted Floor Markings

Issues to Avoid with Floor Markings

While using floor markings is a fast and easy way to improve facility safety and efficiency, there are some common mistakes that you'll need to make sure you avoid. Look through the following common floor marking mistakes and learn from the errors of other facilities. This will help you maximize the effectiveness of your overall floor marking strategy.

No Color Standards Following color standards is absolutely essential. Even if the colors for a set area are not mandated by law or things like 5S methodologies, it is important to standardize them within your company to ensure they clearly convey the desired message.
Avoiding Floor Marking Shapes Many facilities only use floor marking tape and avoid the use of specific floor marking shapes. These shapes can quickly and clearly convey a message for people in the area and should be used in almost all facilities.
Poor Installation Techniques Installing floor markings improperly will reduce their lifespan and may also cause them to be less effective. Following proper installation standards can dramatically improve the results.
Poor Cleaning Techniques Cleaning your floor markings is essential otherwise the message they convey can become unclear. Also, floor markings that are not cleaned won't last nearly as long.
No Training Even the best planned floor marking strategy will be ineffective if everyone in the facility is not trained on how to interpret the meanings of all the tape and other markings that are used.
Old or Worn Floor Markings While high quality floor markings can last a very long time, they can't last forever. Replacing or repairing damaged or worn floor markings is absolutely essential for a good floor marking strategy.
Improper Use of Markings Using the wrong markings based on location can cause them to wear out more quickly or become ineffective. For example, using reflective floor marking tape in an area where there is no light source to reflect will be useless.

Floor Marking Options

Floor Marking Options

When you are putting floor markings on your facility you will be able to choose between floor marking paint and floor marking tape. In almost all situations, tape is going to provide many more benefits than paint. The following table will quickly illustrate different topics and show which of these two options is best in each one.

Topic Floor Marking Tape Floor Marking Paint Advantage
Installation of Floor Markings Tape can be applied to almost any clean surface with no need to interrupt the normal flow of work Floor marking paint needs to be applied to a clean dry surface and then left to dry for several hours before it can be touched. Floor Marking Tape
Durability Floor marking tape is very durable and can last for years with proper maintenance. It can, however, be vulnerable to being scraped up by dragging metal in the facility. Paint can typically last a long time with normal use. It is more easily chipped with normal use but it is very unlikely that damage to one spot will impact other areas Neutral
Removal Very simple removal process. Simply scrape up one spot and then begin pulling the tape up in large sections Very difficult. You must use paint thinner or another products. You can also paint over the existing paint in some cases. Floor Marking Tape
Flexibility It is easy to install tape in most areas as long as there is enough room to work. Tight spaces can present some challenges. Paint can be used in most areas as well. If you can fit a brush into an area, you can paint it. Neutral
Extreme Temperatures There are special types of floor marking tape that can be used in very hot or cold environments. Installing the tape in these environments requires no special steps Paint can be used in most temperatures. In most cases the temperature, however, will need to be within a set range during application in order to apply properly. Floor Marking Tape
Other Floor Markings There are many types of pre-made floor marking signs available. You can also create custom floor markings using a simple industrial label printer. Painting anything other than simple lines will require a lot of extra time and talent during the application. Floor Marking Tape

As you can see, floor marking tape has a lot of advantages over paint. In virtually every situation floor marking tape is a much smarter choice.

What is Floor Marking Tape Made From?

Understanding how floor marking tape is made can help you to see why it is so durable and easy to work with. There are several different types of tape available, each made with different materials. The following are some of the most common:

  • General Floor Tape - The most common types of floor marking tape are made from vinyl, which can stand up to both foot and vehicle traffic. The glue is made using reinforced rubber-based industrial adhesive that can hold in most any temperature and even stand up to water and chemicals.
  • Glow in the Dark Tape - Glow in the dark tape, also known as photoluminescence tape, is made using a special phosphor that is applied to the vinyl tape. The industrial strength glue is still used.
  • Reflective Tape - Reflective tape is made using thousands of tiny glass beads, prisms and metals to create a reflective surface on top of the tape. It is sealed tightly to the tape so that the materials will not come off during normal use. This surface will reflect light back toward the source so that it is easy to see even from a distance.

No matter what type of floor tape or other floor markings you need in your facility, make sure you always order industrial grade to ensure it will be able to stand up to the wear and tear that it will experience on a daily basis.