Visual communication and industrial safety go hand in hand: Without clear cues and instructions, employees and visitors in a warehouse setting may be injured. While stop signs and directional cues are some of the most common options, visual communication goes beyond these basics. From signs and lines that provide instructions to organizational directions for storing everything from tools to forklifts, floor markings can improve warehouse safety and efficiency every day. Explore these tips and tricks for using industrial floor marking tape, signs, and other visual cues in a warehouse or other industrial setting.
Where Are Warehouse Floor Markings Required?
Specific floor markings are required under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines regarding Walking-Working Surfaces. In warehouses, aisles—such as between shelving units and should be at least three (3) feet wider than the largest equipment used in the area—or a minimum of four (4) feet wide. Similarly, maintenance walkways and other walking areas must be 18 inches wide or wider. Other requirements include identifying physical or fire-related hazards. Each facility is responsible for determining and complying with all applicable OSHA requirements.
What Floor Markings Are Most Common in Warehouses?
Beyond the required aisle and walkway lines, warehouses and industrial locations use floor markings to communicate vital information. To choose the best floor markings for your facility, consider where and how the markings will be used.
Most often, industrial floor marking tape rolls and pre-cut shapes are the best options. They’re easy to install and are durable enough to withstand foot and vehicular traffic. For areas that are exposed to moisture and regular low or below freezing temperatures, such as loading docks or entry or exit doors, freezer-rated tape may be necessary. Location-specific messages, graphics, and logos can be added to create custom floor marking solutions.
Paint, another common option, wears away quickly, leading to required repairs—and facility downtime. While the initial cost may be less, the loss of productivity and continual need for repair makes it a more expensive option in the long run. Additionally, you’re often limited to single color lines with limited customization available.
In areas where floor marking tape or painted lines are difficult or impossible to use—such as uneven, textured, or dirt or gravel surfaces—virtual signs and lines may be suitable replacements. These LED projectors use interchangeable gobos to provide virtual signs on an as-needed basis. Swap as instructions change, or turn the sign on when the message is required, and off when no guidance is necessary.
Another benefit of floor marking tape is that there are task-specific options available to target warehouse needs, from pre-cut kits to denote areas that must be kept clear, to crosswalk markings, footprints, and arrows for better navigation.
How to Apply Warehouse Floor Markings
While painting floor markings requires scraping, degreasing, priming, and marking—all before the painting, drying, and clean-up—floor marking tape and signs are quicker and easier to apply. When laying straight or dashed lines, a floor marking applicator is faster than applying tape by hand—and our application equipment can create curved lines as well. Adhesive-backed pre-cut floor markings and floor signs are applied to a clean surface, then tamped to activate the adhesive. With floor tape and signs, the area can be opened again in a matter of minutes.
Benefits of Floor Markings in Warehouse Locations
Floor Markings Provide Safety Information at a Glance
A warehouse is a fast-paced environment. With pedestrians, forklifts, trucks, and visitors sharing the space, visual cues are necessary to improve safety. Share important information with regular employees, new hires, and visitors alike using floor markings and easy-to-understand messages, such as:
- Pedestrian crosswalks and traveled areas
- Evacuation routes
- Wet or slippery floors
- Areas with debris such as sawdust or gravel
- Loading dock edges and platforms
- Stairways and changes in elevation
Improve Efficiency and Organization
Marking bulk storage areas—from pallets and raw materials to vehicles and pallet jacks—can improve organization efforts by reducing clutter and providing a space for the most-used items in the facility.
- Floor marking signs can designate pallet jack or forklift parking to prevent them from being left in inconvenient places.
- Pallet corners, crosses, and T-shaped markers ensure pallets are placed in orderly rows, preventing them from encroaching upon traveled lanes.
- Designate storage spaces or Red Tag Areas to support Lean initiatives.
- Streamline traffic flow, whether foot or vehicular traffic, with appropriate notices including marking the floor to demonstrate forklift swing or turn radius, vehicle- or pedestrian-only zones, and traffic reminders.
- Provide signage and floor markings for storage space for specific tools, machinery, or vehicles for improved efficiency.
- Help employees understand the traffic flow with arrows or footprint-shaped floor markings or create pedestrian- or vehicle-only zones to keep foot and forklift traffic from crossing.
Easy to Remove for Temporary Instructions
Unlike painted lines, temporary floor marking tape—for example, while re-organizing, developing a new loading dock procedure, or testing a new traffic pattern—can be applied and removed without leaving behind ghost lines or residue. This is ideal for providing short-term instructions or testing new visual cues. When the cues are no longer necessary, it’s simple to remove or replace floor marking tape, shapes, or non-epoxy vinyl or rubber floor signs.
Warehouse safety and organization can be improved with floor markings such as lines, directional cues, and signs. To ensure your floor markings are providing the most value, consider your facility’s specific needs and refer to our Resource Center for tips on developing a custom strategy.