Floor striping creates visual separation in work areas, travel zones, and between employees and hazards to improve warehouse safety and efficiency. While these visual cues take direction from OSHA floor striping standards, warehouse managers and business owners can also implement grids, lines, and perimeters to strengthen organization on the shop floor. With the right floor striping tape and equipment, facility updates can be cost-effective and flexible. Follow along to learn about commercial floor striping and the advantages these lines bring to warehouses and factories, from organization to traffic control and safety. 

What Is Floor Striping?

Floor striping means applying lines to warehouse floors to help organize the workplace, mark storage areas, designate traveled areas, and improve safety. Warehouse floor stripes can be installed along aisles to show boundaries, as grid lines to mark staging and pallet placement, and as diagonal lines to note off-limits areas.

Advantages of Floor Striping for Warehouses

A warehouse or factory’s floor striping makes the workflow of the facility easier for employees to follow and reinforces 5S principles. Because floor stripes support 5S and Lean methods, facility managers can expect to benefit from warehouse floor striping in multiple ways.

Floor Stripes Reinforce Safety Compliance 

Floor striping is ideal for marking safety zones and hazards. Applying diagonal lines in front of emergency exits, safety equipment, and utility areas along with Do Not Block signage marks these essential locations to prevent blockages. Outlining inventory rack boundaries shows the desired placement of pallets or boxes, which keeps everything housed within storage perimeters to prevent tripping or other accidents.

Hazard visibility can also be improved with floor striping. Adding taped lines in bright, highly visible colors around machinery areas helps ensure anyone walking or traveling in the vicinity is aware of potential hazards. Taped lines can also create buffer zones to prevent employees on forklifts from operating too close to structures where collisions may occur. 

Stripes and Lines Improve Warehouse Organization 

Warehouse floor striping tape can delineate boundaries around work areas, define storage locations, and mark staging aisles. Factory or distribution managers wanting to optimize a warehouse workflow can implement floor markers to designate pallet staging or storage to ensure efficient use of space. Marked locations can also be used to isolate damaged or defective products and red-tagged items.

Striping Aisles and Lanes Strengthen Traffic Control

Industrial floor striping is essential for keeping mixed traffic separated and marking walkways, forklift aisles, and loading docks and bays. When pedestrians and forklift operators can confidently navigate the facility, travel is safer and more efficient.

Color-coding factory floor striping can also improve communication. For example: Red lines can display areas where traffic is restricted or prohibited; yellow lines show standard pathways; and, black-and-white stripes designate operational zones. No matter your color scheme, consistency is key: Carry uniform color coding throughout the entire facility.

Techniques for Proper Warehouse Floor Striping

When striping a warehouse floor, first you must create a plan for the intended layout: Evaluate and design a configuration to suit your space and needs. Then, prepare the floor properly and measure and mark your intended grids, lines, and floor markings ahead of floor tape application. Follow recommended tape application techniques for applying lines and creating corners for professional-looking, long-lasting results. Warehouse lines may be applied using a floor striping tape applicator machine or by hand.

How Do You Stripe a Concrete Floor?

Concrete floor striping can be completed using paint or tape. Depending on the size of the facility, painting floor stripes may not be the best option. Indoors, pressure-sensitive floor tape is easy to install—especially with a striping machine. It is durable and can be removed easily to accommodate workflow changes. Choose the right tape for the job, such as beveled edge tape, which is designed to resist catching and tearing to extend the lifespan of industrial markings. Paint and pavement tapes are suitable for exterior locations, such as on a concrete pad in front of dock doors. 

How to Install Floor Striping

The most important factors to consider when planning floor striping are OSHA standards and business objectives. Create a blueprint before beginning your application process to highlight areas of concern and plan floor striping methods throughout the facility. Use these guidelines to get started.

Line Width and Style

Floor striping lines should be at least 2 inches wide to keep the cues visible from a distance, but 4- and 6-inch widths are also common in warehouse settings. Find the size that offers maximum visibility while staying within project budget.

Also consider the style of the tape material. If you’re installing floor striping in an area used for cold storage, a portion of the warehouse with insufficient lighting, or one prone to moisture, choose tapes specifically designed for use in these challenging locations. Our specialty tape options include glowing or reflective tapes for low-light conditions, hazard tape with warning stripes, anti-slip tape, and carpet tape for office locations.

Aisle Clearances

Lane and aisle floor striping must account for required machine clearances to ensure safe, damage-free travel. When planning grid lines for open staging areas near loading docks or workstations, factor in adequate space for forklift and hand truck turns and other maneuvers. For a warehouse with a variety of aisle widths and equipment, consider using line striping at the end of each aisle to indicate allowed machine widths. Pick-and-place fork trucks require 12 feet to operate; narrow aisle lift trucks operate in lanes of 8 to 10 feet; and picker lifts can handle aisles as narrow as 4 to 5 feet wide.

Apply markings around corners of the inventory aisles to provide clearance indicators for forklift operators to facilitate safer turning. Similar striping can be applied around workstations or machinery where forklifts, hand trucks, and other equipment may require extra space to operate. 

Facility Management

Marking storage areas, shelving space, forklift parking, and facility workflows with floor striping and signage can help a warehouse or factory get closer to achieving a lean, efficient workplace. Striping also provides buffers in areas where supplies are stored, marking designated safety zones for order packers and forklift drivers. Buffer zones can be designated near cardboard compactors, recycling and trash locations, or anywhere employees routinely complete tasks.

Directional Cues

Review the warehouse for areas prone to congestion and use floor striping to help aid navigation. Create lanes using floor tape to designate one-way and two-way traffic and mark pedestrian crosswalks to maintain dedicated pathways into other facility locations. Floor markings can alert employees to prohibited areas or actions, using universal color schemes such as red meaning stop, or orange to indicate danger.

Review Floor Marking Schemes

After installing floor markings and resuming business as usual, audit the shop floor to verify the improvements are working. Be mindful of areas with too few or too many messages—both situations can lead to confusion and missteps. Adjust floor markings to include arrows, dots, and safety messaging to improve communication, where needed.

OSHA Floor Striping Standards

Implementing the minimum warehouse floor striping to meet safety regulations and materials storage guidelines meets standards, but you can improve your facility’s overall safety by going beyond the requirements. Additional visual cues, such as crosswalks or designated staging lanes, help boost productivity and efficiency. 

OSHA floor striping standards do not prescribe exactly how walking and working surfaces must be marked, but these guidelines offer a jumping-off point for compliance:

  1. Permanent aisles and passageways must be appropriately marked (1910.176 Material Handling and Storage).
  2. Employers must provide a safe means of access and egress to walking-working surfaces (1910.22 Walking-Working Surfaces).
  3. Safety color codes for physical hazards should be followed (1910.144 General Environmental Controls).
  4. Floor striping lines should be at least 2 inches wide to ensure maximum visibility (OSHA notes on  Standards for 1910.22 Walking-Working Surfaces). 
  5. Where mechanical equipment is used, sufficient safe clearances shall be allowed for aisles, loading docks, doorways, and where turns or passage must be made (1910.176 Materials Handling and Storage).

Aisle lines, walkways, crosswalks, and inventory grids are important visual cues in industrial facilities. Choose the best tape for the project and apply it using floor striping equipment to install high-quality lines that last. For more ways industrial tape and signs can improve facility safety and productivity, visit our Resource Center.