Why Line Marking is Crucial to Warehouse Safety: The Ultimate Line Marking Guide
Feb 18th 2022
Imagine driving down the highway with no markings on the road, or if every state had its own marking system and you had to learn a new one each time you crossed the border. How far would you go … a mile or two? It’s just as important for warehouse traffic – machinery sharing floor space with workers on foot in a facility full of potential hazards makes it more important than ever to know the “rules of the road,” both for getting work done and to provide a safe work environment. As it stands now, nonfatal injuries in the transportation and warehouse industry run over $84 million a week – well over four billion a year!
Warehouse safety is a growing concern, as statistics show that about five percent of all warehouse workers are injured each year – that’s one in 20, and it’s getting worse. Preventable workplace deaths have increased nearly 18 percent since 2009, according to the National Safety Council.
Along with keeping workers safe, proper use of tape or paint for line marking can help your warehouse maintenance and traffic function a lot more efficiently – people will know where they’re going and how to get items from one spot to another – and they’ll know when to stay out of the way. There are several advantages to a clearly marked warehouse:
1. You can delineate walkways for employees and clients as well as lanes for transport vehicles and machinery.
2. You can assign areas for disposal of hazardous and other types of waste.
3. By clearly marking the traffic lanes of the warehouse, people can more easily move around the facility, plus visitors and new employees can quickly learn the traffic patterns.
4. You can indicate break and snack areas.
5. Again, safety – this provides a safe work environment that lowers the chance of someone getting into an accident.
It’s important to train everyone as to what your markings mean, make them consistent throughout all your facilities, and adhere to OSHA marking guidelines so that anyone familiar with them is instantly able to navigate your facility. Some commonly used colors include:
1. Yellow marks aisles and walkways.
2. Green indicates the location of safety equipment, including fire extinguishers, eye wash stations, etc.
3. Red, as you would expect, indicates hazardous equipment or materials.
4. Red and white stripes mean to keep the area clear.
5. Blue marks an area for equipment in need of repair and warns employees not to use it.
6. White is for internal equipment, machines, benches, carts, etc.
7. Yellow and black hazard stripes bring attention to electrical panels and other areas with potential hazards.
8. White with a black stripe down the middle designates a robotic passageway.
Prep Before You Step
The best floor marking strategy is to plan in advance – don’t just lay down some pathways and hope for the best. Devise a plan, either in your head or on paper, and if you see it’s not working, don’t be afraid to change. Before you finalize, test it out. Ask the employees who are using your system if there might be a way for them to move quicker or easier.
Before you tape or paint, make sure you’re prepared just like any other application project – in this case, lives may depend on it. Remove dirt and grease so your product adheres to the ground; if you’re going to use paint, you may need to etch your concrete to accept it. It’s highly recommended to use top quality product that will hold up under foot traffic and equipment, since if your markings wear down, they won’t be able to provide a safe work environment.
Tape or Paint?
One decision that might not be as easy as it seems is if you should tape or paint your warehouse floor. If you’re going to be changing up your design often, or for a more temporary marking, tape will be your best bet – however it can last a long time given proper application of quality product. For a more permanent marking, paint is a good choice. Epoxy paint is easy to clean, but it can also fade or wear under heavy traffic.
Tape can get dirtied up by shoes and wheels and scooting equipment, and heavy traffic can cause it to peel. However, if you need words – “keep out!” “danger!” – or hazard stripes, it’s much easier to get that from a roll of tape. With tape you don’t have to wait for dry time, so it may allow you to put your facility back into service more quickly. It’s also easy to apply it on vehicles, walls, doors, or other places where you need to get a message across.
Remember that both of these products are designed to stay where you put them, so removal of either can be tricky as you’ll need a special process to remove the paint or the adhesive left by the tape. Whatever line marking system you choose, it’s important to keep it highly visible and in good repair.
Watco has been providing long lasting, reliable solutions since 1927. Its premier industrial grade products cover all your line marking needs, with tape and paint products that are durable and easy to install. Our line of marking paints, with both interior and exterior products, is extremely durable and provides high chemical resistance. Our easy to apply self-adhesive tapes have been specifically made to adapt to medium, heavy and very heavy traffic. Let us help with your next warehouse maintenance project – view our line tape or paint products today!