Warehouse managers and business owners understand the importance of following mandatory safety regulations, not just to avoid costly penalties but to prevent workplace injuries. While you are likely familiar with OSHA regulations, there are other safety organizations that provide voluntary guidelines to help improve safety above and beyond what’s required. Follow along to learn about OSHA, ANSI, and NFPA, how they collaborate, and ways our floor signs and tape can improve hazard communication and compliance.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regulations
OSHA is a federal agency under the US Department of Labor that is responsible for implementing and enforcing the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. This act requires that employers in most private sectors provide a safe workplace for their employees by eliminating or reducing hazards and making changes to minimize risks.
How Floor Markings Reinforce OSHA Regulations
Increased hazard communication is one change employers can make to improve employees’ awareness of risks. Placing bold, hard-to-miss floor signs in your facility alerts staff to watch their step, be mindful of slippery surfaces, wear the appropriate gear, and helps direct them to safety equipment and fire exits in emergency situations. While not all OSHA regulations pertain to every business, we’ve outlined some of the main standards for warehouses and manufacturing locations, including how floor markings can strengthen compliance in industrial facilities.
Keep Walking-Working Surfaces Clear & Safe
The OSHA standard for walking-working surfaces¹ requires employers to keep workrooms, walkways, and service rooms clean and orderly, and in a sanitary condition. Use 5S floor signs to mark storage locations in your warehouse so items are not misplaced and items don’t block aisles or impede navigation. While walking-working surfaces must be free of spills and leaks and as dry as possible, in areas prone to wet or slippery conditions, anti-slip floor tape provides extra traction for safe work area access.
Strengthen Safety Around Powered Industrial Trucks (Forklifts)
In facilities where mechanical equipment is used, OSHA’s regulation for Materials Handling and Storage² states that there should be “no obstruction across or in aisles that could create a hazard. Permanent aisles and passageways shall be appropriately marked.” Choose industrial floor tape to mark these permanent passageways, or repeat messaging tape when additional directives, such as “Do Not Block” are needed. To comply with the powered industrial truck traveling requirements³ of this regulation, traffic control floor signs remind drivers to observe stopping distances and speed limits, to honk horns at blind intersections, and of right of way rules.
Properly Mark Egress Routes & Exits
Comply with OSHA regulations for providing a means of egress⁴ with improved floor markings for emergency evacuation. Glow-in-the-dark marking tape in low-light areas highlights the route, and floor striping near doorways can prevent visible or physical obstructions at exit doors. Our egress marking kits include puzzle-cut floor striping in a variety of colors to easily mark egress areas up to 50 feet long.
Improve Compliance With Dress Codes & PPE Requirements
Each employee must use personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect against hazards in the workplace⁵. Our floor signs and tape are visual cues that improve PPE compliance by alerting employees when and where protective devices are necessary. Our industrial signage features easily understood images and/or text to signal where hard hats, gloves, or lab coats are mandatory, and it can also communicate prohibited dress, such as “No Open-Toed Shoes.”
American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standards
ANSI is a non-profit organization that facilitates the development of safety standards and monitors the standardization process to ensure guidelines and rules are open, balanced, and appeal to consensus. ANSI encourages companies to use these voluntary standards along with OSHA regulations to help reduce injuries and deaths in the workplace.
Developing recommendations for the size, shape, color, and capacity of a product or process are factors that are monitored by ANSI. These decisions range from the most effective color for aisle markings to how boots for electrical workers should be constructed. While ANSI standards are voluntary, many OSHA regulations can require businesses to adhere to these by citing the standard as mandatory for construction or color.
Floor Markings for Meeting ANSI Standards
OSHA mandates that PPE is worn in certain hazardous areas⁵, but it is the ANSI standards that specify which devices provide the right level of protection. Safety goggle lens construction is one example of where construction for impact or dust resistance is determined by ANSI—which is then mandated by OSHA’s eye and face protection⁶ regulations. To enforce employees wearing the appropriate gear, apply PPE floor signs as reminders that the equipment is needed in the first place and inform them which style of protection—goggles or a face shield, for example—to wear. Find PPE floor signs in our inventory for hearing, eye, face, and foot protection, or create your own signs noting specific ANSI codes or styles as needed.
Color-Coding Floor Markings to ANSI Standards
Color and design standards for industrial markings, such as caution, danger, and safety instruction signs are other areas that fall under ANSI standards. The OSHA specifications for accident prevention signs and tags⁷ cite ANSI standard codes for background colors, text, and other visual features. Select floor signs from our inventory or use our custom design tool to create signage that complies with these design standards, and find floor marking tapes in a variety of colors to follow voluntary ANSI color-coding for improved organization and at-a-glance understanding.
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Guidelines
The NFPA is a global nonprofit organization that publishes fire codes and standards to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and related risks. These standards are developed on a consensus basis much like ANSI standards. This organization also provides certification courses and hands-on or online training.
NFPA, OSHA, and ANSI are all interconnected in fire prevention, electrical safety practices, and equipment approval and requirements. OSHA has a nationally recognized testing laboratory program⁸ which assesses safety and fire prevention equipment. One such lab is UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory) which evaluates many electrical devices and cables, sprinklers, alarms, suppression chemicals, and fire doors. UL is accredited by ANSI and the equipment it assesses is used to meet NFPA fire codes and OSHA regulations. While OSHA is the only organization that mandates compliance, adopting standards from ANSI and NFPA can boost your workplace safety beyond the minimum standards.
Floor Markings for Fire Safety
The NFPA 10 code⁹ provides requirements for portable fire extinguishers to make sure they are tested, ready to use, and stored in accessible locations. Our safety floor signs and pre-cut tape kits are visual cues for fire safety that effectively mark the location of emergency exits, fire extinguishers, fire alarms, and suppression equipment; these visuals are created in red for conspicuity and to meet OSHA’s specifications for accident prevention signs and tags.
Signs & Tags for Electrical Safety
Compliance with the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace¹⁰ can help prevent electrical incidents resulting in shocks, arc flashes, or blasts. While OSHA does not enforce the NFPA standards directly, they use aspects to support citations—an arc flash boundary is one example. The NFPA has defined the distance in which electrical hazards exist and OSHA uses this information to determine when PPE or clearances are required. Installing visual cues for electrical panel safety will alert employees to keep their distance adhering to OSHA’s regulations per the NFPA safety codes.
Avoid costly non-compliance penalties and keep your workplace running smoothly and safely with our floor signs and tape. These lasting, effective visual cues increase employee awareness of risks and reinforce safe work practices. Browse our OSHA resources and other information in our Resource Center to discover more ways to improve compliance.