When labeling wires in the workplace you want to make sure you are conveying as much information as possible. There are standards in place for various types of wires that state what colors to use and how to use them. Following specific color coding standards for wiring will help ensure those working with the wires know what they are working with.
DC Power Color Codes
When working with DC electrical cables you will typically have just four different color options. They are as follows:
- Red – Red cables carry the positive current.
- Black – Black cables will be the negative cable.
- Grey or White – Grey or white cables are the ground wires.
AC Power (120, 208, 240 Volts)
When working with the traditional 120, 208, or 240-volt AC power you will have several different wire colors in place. These colors are:
- Black – Phase 1 Wires
- Red – Phase 2 Wires
- Blue – Phase 3 Wires
- White – Neutral Wires
- Green or Green with a Yellow Stripe – Ground Wires
277- or 480-Volt AC Power
The higher voltage wires will be different colors than those that are in the lower voltage systems. If you are working with 277 or 480-volt wires, the following color codes will typically apply:
- Brown – Phase 1 Wires
- Orange – Phase 2 Wires
- Yellow – Phase 3 Wires
- Grey – Neutral Wires
- Green, Green with Yellow Stripe, or Copper – Ground Wires
Using Standard Colored Wires
By using these color standards throughout the facility, it will be easy for everyone to identify what type of wires are in a given place. This will help to improve workplace safety and reduce the risk of an accidental outage or other problem. Properly colored wires combined with a good wire marking strategy will provide any facility with significant benefits.