Visual cues, such as taped lines, pre-cut shapes, and floor marking signs, designate aisles to organize and direct traffic for a smoother operating, safer warehouse. Because OSHA regulations aren’t very specific on how exactly aisles must be marked—beyond designating locations that require visual cues and requirements for width—industrial facility managers have some freedom to choose what floor marking materials and messaging are best for their employees, workflow, and safety plan. That said, there are tips and floor-marking techniques you can follow to make sure your aisle markings are effective and lasting. The type and color of floor tape you choose, plus the correct installation can make meeting your organizational goals easier and keep your facility in compliance with OSHA regulations.
1. Follow OSHA Requirements for Marking Aisles and Walkways
The standard for Walking-Working Surfaces¹ states that employers must provide a safe means of access and egress to and from walking-working surfaces and that those surfaces are to be kept in a clean, orderly, and sanitary condition. For mechanical equipment, the Material Handling and Storage² standards state that permanent aisles and passageways need to be appropriately marked. Floor marking tape can help you meet these regulations in the following ways:
- Make the safest path obvious and highlight slip, trip, and fall hazards
- Improve traction by applying anti-slip tape to areas prone to wet or slippery conditions
- Increase the visibility of emergency exit routes with reflective or glow-in-the-dark floor tape
- Select floor tapes that can withstand cleaning equipment and chemicals so floors may be properly cleaned without compromising markings
2. Choose the Right Floor Striping Tape
Your aisle markers aren’t helpful if they don’t last. Select floor tape designed to hold up to the demands of each specific area of your facility for proper adhesion and effective results. For most areas with heavy-duty industrial traffic, PVC floor tape can withstand machine wheels, carts, foot traffic, and dragging pallets. Our Superior Mark® floor marking tape is the most durable option you can choose. The pressure-sensitive recessed adhesive stays put as long as needed, and the beveled edges prevent items from damaging the tape. But, vinyl or PVC tape isn’t your only choice, and in some cases, these specialized floor marking tapes may be a better fit:
- Vinyl Tape: An economical line marking tape for barriers, handrails, and other locations without machine traffic
- Freezer Tape: Will withstand extremely cold temperatures to effectively mark floors for organization or safety in cold storage areas
- Reflective Tape: Improves the visibility of aisle markings, pathways, and hazards in low lighting
- Anti-Slip Tape: Marks slip and fall hazards while providing extra traction on stairs or ramps or other slippery areas
- Hazard Tape: Use stripes or checkerboard patterns to get attention and alert employees to danger
- Repeat Message Tape: Includes pre-printed, repeating messages and warnings for extra safety
- Carpet Tape: Uses hook-and-loop fastener backing to adhere to low-pile carpeting in offices, retail spaces, or commercial buildings for organization and direction markers
- Sanitation Tape: Cost-effective alternative to painting a large perimeter to designate it as off-limits in food storage facilities
- Temporary, Removable Floor Marking Tape: Changing workflows benefit from non-permanent solutions, such as Superior Mark® industrial floor tape
3. Color-Code Aisle Markings
There are no OSHA standards regulating the colors used for aisle markers in your facility. Color-coding is provided by ANSI for caution, danger, and warning signage which you can continue in your aisles to standardize your color scheme and make your safety plan easier to follow. While yellow floor tape is often used to mark aisles, other organizational and passageway markers are often color-coded as follows:
- Yellow: Aisles, passageways, and work cells
- White: Equipment locations, such as trash cans, carts, and racks that do not fit color-coding for raw components, finished goods, or other statuses
- Red: Defective or scrap items, and red tag locations
- Orange: Materials or goods held for inspection
- Black/Green/Blue/Purple: Raw supplies, component materials, finished goods, and items in-progress
- Black/Yellow Stripe: Physical hazards
- Black/White Stripe: Areas that need clearances for operational purposes
- Red/White Stripe: Clearances for safety reasons and to mark emergency equipment
4. Customize PVC Marking Tape for Specialty Areas
In locations that will benefit from aisle markings with facility-specific directions, images, or wording, consider creating custom PVC tape. Select from two-, four-, or six-inch warehouse floor tape with the background color, text, and safety symbols you need to make meaningful visual cues for your facility. Ideas for custom aisle marking tape include:
- Choose arrows to show one- or two-way traffic flow
- Direct specific parties to “keep left/right” with custom text
- Alert workers to PPE requirements and safety equipment protocols aisle-by-aisle
- Include prohibited action symbols for no forklifts, no running, or no pedestrians
- Use multilingual text for line markings in diverse workplaces
5. Plan Warehouse Floor Tape by Audience & Best Use
Selecting markings for aisles and passageways shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach. Carefully plan your messaging, color scheme, and the material you’ll use to select the most effective solution and make the best investment. Here are situations to consider when selecting your aisle markers:
- If you’re marking handrails, walls, or corners where there is no forklift traffic to contend with, a lighter-duty marking tape will be sufficient.
- For a quicker installation at aisle corners or inventory locations, use pre-cut L- and T- shaped floor markers rather than cutting and splicing tape.
- Select dashed aisle markers, which use less material while visually separating lanes.
- In pedestrian-only paths that don’t require specific safety messaging, choose uniform floor striping tape purchased in bulk to stretch the budget.
- Always choose heavy-duty safety floor marking tape for visual cues in areas with machine traffic to mark obstacles and hazards without needing to replace floor striping frequently.
- Retailers and commercial businesses without industrial traffic may find a lower-cost vinyl aisle marking tape adequate.
6. Install Aisle Marking Tape Properly
Proper installation is the first step to achieving effective, lasting aisle markings. When floor marking tape is applied properly, the straight, flat lines are easy to follow, readable (if text), and not stretched or misshapen. Whether you are installing your aisle tape by hand or using a marking cart, use these tips to get the best results out of your floor markings:
- Properly clean and prepare the area, and let it thoroughly dry
- Plan your markings ahead of time, and mark the surface to guide the process
- For corners, use butt splices to avoid overlapping the ends
- Leave a one-inch gap between tape lengths rather than installing over seams at joints
- Inspect your markings often and replace sections if necessary
Our floor tape is an ideal solution for applying visual cues in aisles and passageways, as well as for improving workplace organization. If you aren’t seeing the design you need in our inventory of floor tape or safety signs, contact a floor marking specialist to customize a solution today. Find additional floor marking information and installation tips in our Resource Center.