What are the 9 safety colors?

The nine safety colors are defined by ANSI’s Z535.1 standard, the first of six individual standards that make up ANSI Z535. Those colors and color combinations include:

  • Red must always be used for fire protection equipment, flammable liquids, danger signs, and stop buttons.
  • Orange must always be used for signs that are attributed to energized equipment and otherwise dangerous areas.
  • Yellow must always be used for physical hazards such as caution signs pertaining to slip hazards, crushing, striking, and other falling hazards.
  • Green must always be used for first aid equipment and safety reminders.
  • Blue must always be used for informational purposes; these are not always related to safety.
  • Black can be determined by the user.
  • Grey can be determined by the user.
  • Purple can be determined by the user.
  • White can be determined by the user.
  • Combinations of colors such as black and yellow, black and white, and white and yellow may be determined by the user.

These nine colors can be seen all over numerous facilities whether they are using a 5S system, the Kaizen method, Six Sigma, and even if there’s no discernable organizational technique to be seen. This is because these standards, created by ANSI, are required by OSHA. The color schemes for Z535 are seen as a best practice method for industrial sites which is why OSHA mandates the standard. These colors do their job when it comes to alerting people about their surroundings, therefore creating a safer workplace than if there wasn’t any sort of visual communication used.

Overall, using these colors as they were intended will improve the following:

  • Organization
  • Employee productivity
  • Safety
  • Decrease the number of errors
  • Lower the risk of injury

It may seem to be a big to-do when it comes to outfitting the entire facility with proper labeling and signage but knowing the Z535 standard set will make implementation much smoother and less of a headache than if the users went in with no knowledge at all.


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