Keep Aisle Clear and Do Not Block floor signs communicate that walkways, entrances, or zones must remain unobstructed for safety, visibility, or accessibility. These visual cues remind employees to keep fire exits clear and help prevent anyone from parking equipment or storing inventory where it poses safety risks, plus when pathways are easier to travel, productivity improves. See how and where to use Do Not Obstruct signs and messages to benefit your production floor or warehouse.
OSHA Safety Requirements That Address Obstructions
OSHA standards require walkways, exits, and work areas to remain free of obstacles or blockages. Following these requirements helps you avoid non-compliance fines and improves health and safety in the workplace. While this list is not exhaustive, OSHA standards prohibit obstructions or prescribe clearance zones for these locations:
- Fire exits and egress routes: OSHA regulation 1910.37¹ states that industrial facilities must keep emergency exits clear, including the doors and routes. These locations must never be blocked by materials or equipment, even during temporary situations, such as construction, repairs, or building alterations.
- Fire extinguishers: Employers must provide and identify fire extinguishers in workplaces to adhere to OSHA standard 1910.157²; fire suppression equipment must be readily accessible in a location that does not subject staff to possible injury. Portable extinguishers must be stored in designated places at all times except during use.
- Mechanical equipment: OSHA standard 1910.176³ for Materials Handling and Storage states that workplaces that use mechanical handling equipment must maintain clear, unobstructed areas so that turns or passages may be made safely; these regulations pertain to aisles, loading docks, and doorways. OSHA’s regulations 1910.178⁴ for powered industrial trucks (commonly forklifts) also reiterate the operators’ responsibilities for keeping trucks from blocking fire aisles, access to stairways, and fire equipment.
- Electrical equipment and panels: Allowing electrical equipment proper ventilation per OSHA standard 1926.403⁵ means air flow should not be impeded by structures or walls and that vented openings shall allow free circulation of air through the equipment. The standard also addresses sufficient workspace around electrical panels and circuit boards, naming minimum clearances (headroom of at least 6 feet, 3 inches, and at least 3 feet wide) for safe maintenance and repairs.
- First aid and medical services: OSHA standard 1915.87⁶ requires that employers ensure medical services are readily accessible, and this includes medical kits and quick-drenching and flushing facilities, such as eyewash stations.
Where to Use Do Not Block Signage
High-contrast safety zone signs alerting employees to keep areas clear and unobstructed help you maintain OSHA compliance, but these are useful in more places than mandatory locations. Do Not Block and Keep Area Clear floor signs can also improve traffic flow and ensure general supplies are accessible for improved efficiency and productivity.
Mandatory Keep Clear Zones
Per OSHA, some warehouse locations must never be fully blocked or obstructed, even temporarily. Do Not Block floor markers remind material handlers, forklift operators, and employees to never leave inventory, carts, or equipment around these areas:
- Fire exit doors
- Emergency egress routes
- Fire extinguishers
- Electrical panels
- First aid kits
- Eyewash stations and showers
Important Operational Locations
OSHA states that walking-working areas must not be obstructed or difficult to traverse, but how workplaces comply is not prescribed. Though visual cues, such as floor signs and tape, are not mandatory, they remind employees to be diligent about keeping aisles clear, clean, and navigable. Strengthen safety and productivity by adding Keep Clear signs in these important locations:
- Picking aisles, hallways, and any narrow passageways
- Staging areas and transport paths (for assembly line equipment or raw goods)
- Non-emergency facilities (i.e. water fountains, restrooms, handwashing sinks)
- Operational locations, such as assignment boards or safety postings
- Employee locker areas
- End-of-shift cleaning equipment, like mop buckets, brooms, and solutions
Custom Signs to Reduce Congestion
Warehouse and factory locations can be prone to traffic jams and congestion, and when a forklift or load is blocking these areas, the issues are compounded. A floor sign, especially when paired with floor marking tape, can prompt people to be more conscientious when stopping, parking, or leaving equipment. While some premade signs may be specific enough, our custom floor sign design tool allows you to create any message you need, from a Keep Clear Bay #23 floor sign or Do Not Block Intersection With Carts to custom text and image or graphic-only signs that convey messages using recognizable symbols.
While not required by safety commissions, these floor signs and tape may be beneficial in the following areas:
- Trash receptacles and dumpsters
- Corrugate compactors
- Load areas for conveyors
- Gate openings
- Access doors
- Bay doors
- Office entrances
Visual Cues for Keeping Areas Clear
You need to choose the right floor marking tape and floor signs to effectively meet safety goals and improve production. Signage must be visible so items aren’t accidentally stored in these locations and employees can locate supplies during emergency situations. Explore several recommended methods for creating visual cues using our versatile floor signs and tape kits.
Floor Tape Perimeters
Because floor tape is easy to apply across long distances, it is an excellent visual cue for marking emergency evacuation routes and perimeters and zones, from crosswalks to off-limit areas. Our inventory of repeat message floor tape includes designs for general use (Keep Area Clear) and for specific locations (Electrical Panel Keep Clear).
Do Not Block Floor Signs
Floor signs are easy to apply and last longer in high-traffic areas than paint, which makes them ideal for marking aisles and walkways where ‘keep clear’ messaging is necessary. Our safety floor signs include specific and general designs for use in many facility layouts. Signs featuring arrows, safety symbols, and text create clear visual cues that prohibit storage and keep supplies and equipment well-marked. Other general ‘Keep Clear’ messages remind everyone to double-check that passageways are clean and tidy.
We offer a variety of sign styles for marking keep-clear areas, including:
- Emergency Exit Do Not Block signs
- Emergency Exit Keep Clear signs
- Keep Aisles Clear floor signs
- Egress Aisle Do Not Block signs
- Caution Keep Clear signs
- Do Not Block This Door signs
- Do Not Block Fire Extinguisher signs
- Electrical Panel Keep Clear signs
- Electrical Panel Do Not Block signs
Pre-Cut Floor Marking Kits for Safety Zones
The floor tape and signs in our pre-cut kits make it simple to mark areas where safety clearances must be observed. OSHA standards require specific buffer zones to be maintained around electrical panels, and emergency equipment needs to be visible and accessible. Our pre-cut tape kits are designed to mark these important locations in accordance with safety regulations. The puzzle-cut, peel-and-stick tape pieces are easy to install and provide the correct clearance area.
Floor marking kits can be used to clearly mark important locations, including:
- Fire Extinguisher
- Electrical Panel
- Eyewash Station
- First Aid Kit
- Safety Data Sheets
- Red Tag Hold Area
- Egress and Exits
Whether you want to reduce congestion in pathways or improve safety, Keep Clear floor signs and tape can help you reach your goals. Our pre-cut kits and floor signs are easy to install, durable, and come in a variety of messages to suit various industrial facility needs. For more tips on creating a safe, productive workplace, visit our Resource Center.