Marking aisles is a common strategy for visual workplace management to increase efficiency and safety across a variety of industries. Whether you’re navigating forklifts in a manufacturing plant or directing foot traffic in a hospital, clear aisle markings are essential for traffic flow, accident prevention, and efficiency. Follow our tips for creating suitable aisle markings in your facility. 

OSHA Requirements for Aisles and Pathways

OSHA offers few guidelines about aisle markings—its only stipulation is that “permanent aisles and pathways must be appropriately marked”—which allows employers the flexibility to mark their facility in the way that best suits their operation. However, we can look to OSHA’s other requirements for aisles and pathways to determine what constitutes “appropriate” floor markings.

OSHA states that:

  • All aisles and paths shall be clear from obstructions that could cause hazards, and be kept in a clean and orderly condition.
  • Where mechanical handling equipment is used, sufficient safe clearances shall be allowed for aisles, at loading docks, through doorways, and wherever turns or passage must be made. 
  • Aisle width should be at least three feet wider than the largest equipment you’ll use, or four feet wide at a minimum. 

The Importance of Aisle Markings

Beyond compliance with OSHA aisle marking standards for warehouses and industrial locations, adequately designating paths, corridors, and lanes using floor tape, pre-cut markers, and custom signage increases safety, clarity, and efficiency throughout the workplace.

Improve Warehouse Aisle Safety

Aisle marking tape helps designate proper safety lanes for foot or vehicle traffic and can be used to indicate the direction of travel, preventing collisions and pedestrian injury. Glow-in-the-dark aisle markings help improve visibility to keep pedestrians safe in case of emergency, in stadiums and concert venues, and in low-light situations. Use glow-in-the-dark tape to mark adequate clearance from the edges of shelving, racking, or seats to minimize trip and fall hazards. Aisle markings, including pre-cut arrows or graphic signs, can also guide guests and employees toward emergency exits, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and other essential equipment during an emergency. 

Increase Efficiency in Warehouses and Industrial Facilities

Defining aisles and pathways optimizes traffic flow for maximum productivity with minimal bottlenecks. For industrial spaces, aisle markings eliminate confusion around designated storage spaces for equipment and materials and reinforce required workflows and safety practices. Aisle markings in warehouse environments clearly establish picking zones, order fulfillment areas, and loading zones to align with your standard practices. In either instance, well-marked aisles help minimize wasted time and improve productivity across the board.

Protect Equipment and Supplies 

Prevent damage to goods on pallets or stored machinery by marking aisles for adequate clearance. Easy-to-understand aisle markings remind employees to keep these areas clear for storage, even when the equipment or products may be in use elsewhere.

Further, when you outline the minimum aisle width as dictated by OSHA, you ensure adequate clearance for your machinery and prevent items from encroaching on that space, preventing obstructions that lead to damage or accidents. While our beveled edge floor tape is designed for durability even in high-traffic areas, using corner markers or dashed lines helps minimize exposed surface area for longer-lasting floor markings.

Custom Floor Signs and Markers Provide Clear Instructions

Aisle markings are one of many visual cues that help make visitors and employees aware of established workflows, safety practices, and recommended traffic flow direction. Whether you implement a color-coded system or use custom signage personalized with process-specific instructions, you can create clarity and minimize confusion throughout your industrial facility or warehouse environment. Pre-cut shapes—including arrows, footprints, and stop signs—easily communicate which way to go and what aisles are restricted to certain types of traffic. Visual cues provide clear messages throughout the workplace regardless of language barriers.

Comparing Floor Marking Products

The best products for marking aisles are durable, easily visible, legible, and designed to stand up to the harsh environment in which they will be installed. Our floor marking tape features beveled edges to prevent damage from vehicles, pallets, and cleaning machines and includes a sturdy recessed adhesive that creates an ultra-strong bond—but is easy to remove without damage or residue.

Industrial floor-marking tape is ideal for identifying aisles and passageways, including required clearance areas for forklifts and other vehicles or machinery. Color-coded floor tape can delineate different organizational areas along racking or shelving, making it easy for employees to find the supplies or inventory they need. 

Arrows, pre-cut footprints, and other floor markers can indicate the direction of traffic flow within aisles or hallways and along pathways. They can also direct employees and visitors to essential equipment—for example, green arrows can guide employees to a first aid kit while yellow footprints indicate the appropriate direction for regular foot traffic.

Floor signs, including pre-printed and custom options, allow you to give more specific directions. Whether you’re marking a hallway to point to the Emergency Exit or indicating a forklift-only aisle, these signs pair graphics and text to communicate your intended message. 

How to Choose Aisle-Marking Tape 

There are several factors to consider when choosing which floor-marking product will be best for delineating aisles and pathways in a facility. Consider these main qualities, and keep your facility’s specific needs in mind.

  • Color: Specific color standards are not set by OSHA or ANSI, but yellow is often used for marking aisles and pathways because it offers high visibility and is commonly associated with caution messaging. 
  • Location/Environment: The location and environment where you are marking aisles influences which type of floor marking product will be best. In addition to our most popular floor tape rolls, we also carry freezer, carpet, anti-slip, reflective, and glow-in-the-dark tape products to best suit your needs. Glow-in-the-dark tape is ideal for marking aisles in concert venues, anti-slip tape may be ideal for stairways and changes in elevation such as in stadiums or in other locations that may become slippery or wet, hook-and-loop carpet tape is preferred for marking aisles in offices or municipal buildings, for classroom activities, or in storage spaces.
  • Purpose and Message: Additional context can be helpful while communicating safety messages, which is why we offer pre-printed signs and tape with common messages, such as “forklift traffic only” or “pedestrian aisle,” while custom floor tape and signs offer more specific messaging.

Marking aisles is an essential safety practice across a variety of industries, including manufacturing, production, warehousing, healthcare, and businesses that cater to the public—and sometimes it is required. Whether your goal is increased aisle safety or improved efficiency, follow this guide to using floor tape and floor marking signs to meet OSHA aisle marking standards. Then, explore our Resource Center for more on best practices for industrial spaces.