Industrial locations and production floors are safer when visual cues are in place, but some specific signs and floor markings are imperative in keeping employees and visitors out of harm’s way. Consider the visual cues already in place and look for areas to clarify or expand based on these best practices for industrial facilities.
1) Exit and Egress Signs and Notices
Keeping egress areas and exits free from clutter is required for safety, and floor marking tape and clear signage help improve compliance. Visual reminders help communicate specific needs, so employees are better able to follow guidelines. Blocked or cluttered exits create hazards that, in case of an emergency evacuation, may lead to serious injury or death.
How Should Exits Be Marked In a Workplace?
OSHA requires that emergency exit routes be clearly labeled¹, including exit access and discharge points. Exit routes must display “Not an Exit” or similar messaging in areas that do not lead to an exit discharge. Floor markings may include anti-slip traction tape, glow-in-the-dark tape, or reflective floor marking tape to improve visibility even in smoky or dark conditions. Follow all facility and OSHA color standards to ensure markings are easy to understand. Text and graphics can improve understanding. Always refer to OSHA standards to ensure your floor markings, signage, and other visual cues are in compliance.
2) Pinch and Crush Point Warnings
A pinch point is defined by OSHA as any point, other than the point of operation, where a body part may be caught between moving parts, between moving and stationary parts, or between materials and equipment. These hazards can cause caught or crush injuries of varying severity.
Avoid pinch, crush, or caught incidents on production lines and in warehouses with clearly marked pinch point labels and warnings. Provide visual cues for hazard areas to remind employees to keep hands, feet, and clothing clear of pinch points. Other reminders may be necessary depending on location, audit results, and recorded incidents. Consider whether it is beneficial to post reminders regarding not wearing dangling or loose clothing, jewelry, hairstyles, or name badges.
3) Forklift Area and Pedestrian Visual Cues
Proper visual cues are imperative to employee and visitor safety—and some floor markings are required by OSHA forklift safety standards². Safety and caution floor tape provides clear instructions and messages regarding specific hazards or potential risks related to certain areas. Floor marking tape is ideal for creating visual indicators for forklift lanes, floor signs or tape featuring text and graphics can be used to label crosswalks, and speed, intersection, or traffic notices can also be applied using these floor marking tools.
For safety notices in extremely heavy traffic locations, virtual lines and signs may be an ideal solution—and for areas where safety information needs to be updated regularly depending on seasonal demand or other factors, simply change out the GOBO lights as needed to update messaging.
Forklifts and other vehicles can pose pinch or crush hazards, as well—so always ensure proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures are in place and provide clear signage to warn of potential risks.
4) Keep Clear Notices
Keep clear requirements apply to areas beyond egress and exit doors. Electrical panels, first aid kit, AED locations, eye wash stations, and fire extinguishers must also be accessible at all times. While floor tape stripes and barriers provide visual reminders of the requirements, text and graphics can improve comprehension—especially important in keep clear zones. Pre-cut floor marking kits are designed with text, graphic, and color combinations to help your location remain within OSHA guidelines.
Other labels, such as door swing notices and forklift swing warnings, provide spacial information to keep employees, other machinery, and pedestrians out of the way of potential hazards, preventing injury or damage from impact.
5) Slip, Trip, and Fall Prevention Messaging
Walking/working surfaces present slip, trip, and fall (STF) hazards, so clear visual cues are necessary help prevent accidents, injuries, or death. The most common workplace type of workplace injuries are related to STF incidents, so minimizing risk is an important factor in industrial safety. Visual communication tools like floor tape and floor signs can be used to prevent slips, trips, and falls by:
- Directing foot traffic flow away from hazardous areas into pedestrian-only zones
- Marking stair and ramp edges to bring attention to changes in elevation
- Applying anti-slip tape on potentially slippery surfaces for extra protection
- Reducing foot and vehicular traffic in hazardous locations by labeling areas for access by authorized employees only
- Highlighting weather- or climate-related hazards such as icy or wet walkways or building entry points
While these visual cue ideas target general needs, always defer to OSHA requirements and on-site standards when planning your visual cues. For more information about visual communication for industrial facilities, explore our Resource Center.