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ISO Standards and Floor Marking - Safety Colors Ep 13

ISO Standards and Floor Marking - Safety Colors Ep 13

Alec Goecke Alec Goecke
18 minute read

ISO Standards and Floor Marking Safety Colors Review

EP. 13 ISO Standards and SAFETY COLORS - Mighty Line Minute

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Greetings everyone and welcome to Mighty Line Minute. Our mission is to enhance your understanding of safety, health, and loss control principles. We'll do that by providing up-to-date information that can be applied to modern industrial workplaces. Our aim is to help you achieve a higher level of operational and safety excellence. So stay tuned.

 Last week we discussed the more recent 2022 edition of the American National Standard known as Z535.1 Standard for Safety Colors. We also discussed the use of the standard from OSHA, and the context that it takes in light of ANSI, as well as identifying specific ANSI safety colors.

And we discussed colors that are commonly used in industrial environments. Specifically those that are used for the demarcation of machinery, equipment storage, and aisleways where safe travel is necessary.

So today folks we'll be discussing color from a different approach, and that is using the International Standards Organization, otherwise known as ISO, and their standard numbers 3864:2011 edition and 7010:2019 edition.

In these global color and safety sign standards. color really begins to shine, particularly when we talk about its correlation with ANSI.

And that is largely because color is used every day in safety, caution, information and warning signs, as well as the reflective clothing that you see everywhere.

In signage, the color black can be used as an alert symbol, such as when used as an exclamation mark or wording, along with contrasting white or yellow background, and as a signage border. Safety black is a specific color that is identified in both the earlier and later editions of ANSI Z535 and ANSI Z535.1-2022; additionally, the safety color charts found in ISO 3864-4:2011 edition Safety Color Tables.

 The color black, which is not a specific OSHA color code, is not commonly used in warehouse or industrial floor striping, although, it has been used to demarcate special machinery or equipment in industrial settings. Black is and can be used outside of OSHA, such as for striping special floor storage areas or equipment areas.

And that's because OSHA accepts the use of ANSI Safety Color Standards, particularly where there are none within the OSHA standard itself.

So, we might ask, in general, where lie the differences between ANSI and ISO color charts and tables? Let's discuss that. Interestingly, ANSI 2022 edition dropped the colors gray and brown from their 2011 safety color chart, as did ISO. ISO 3864:2011 edition does not include the colors orange or purple as a safety color. However, ISO adds the unique safety color “phosphorescent yellow-white contrast.”

Let's summarize several examples of the differences between the ANSI and the ISO Standards with safety colors.

The colors, gray, brown, and purple have seemingly become less important as a safety color with both ANSI and ISO.

However, brown is used by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) for recreational and cultural interest signage for parks, historical sites and scenic routes. And purple is used by the U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) service to illustrate the most severe weather. Also, by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to illustrate the most intense seismic activity.

The color orange remains an ANSI Safety Color, though not with ISO standards. And orange remains in prevalent use with the U.S. DOT traffic control standards, especially involving work zones.

Phosphorescent yellow-white contrast is a color that has gained importance through ISO. As such, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration has specified high-visibility clothing and PPE for workers in roadway work to enhance their visibility and safety and such zones. And state agencies also have their own requirements for use of “high-vis” and protective clothing. What about safety research in color? The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, known as NIOSH, conducts research on the use of high-vis clothing that affects workers in various industries, such as construction and transportation.

And in recent years, industry and public agencies have heightened use of high-vis clothing while working in high risk environments. The use of fluorescent orange, yellow, or green, combined with retroflective materials, along with additional safety measures, has significantly reduced the likelihood of the most severe accidents in traffic and construction zones. Below we have a full detailed review of ISO standards and safety colors. 

Navigating Safety Colors: ISO Standards and Floor Marking

Read more safety talk articles 

In contemporary industrial and manufacturing realms, the strategic placement of floor marking tape is pivotal for bolstering safety through visual cues. Mighty Line® offers a comprehensive array of safety floor markings, compliant with OSHA safety color standards for safety, presenting a variety of colors, each tailored to serve a distinct purpose and reinforce occupational health and safety. These floor safety markings, signs and shapes and their meanings are integral to workplace safety, reducing the risk of injuries through clear color coding. By referencing an industrial safety color guideline such as available from Mighty Line®, companies can significantly enhance their dedication to environmental health, fire and life safety, electrical safety, powered industrial truck safety, and means of egress.

Adhering to floor marking standards, including the ANSI/ISO safety color codes, is essential for upholding regulatory compliance and achieving operational excellence in occupational safety. This article explores OSHA/ANSI/ISO floor marking principles, the advantages of standardized warehouse floor marking guidelines, and best practices for their application. It illuminates the OSHA/ANSI/ISO color standards for safety and their significance, equipping you to effectively utilize floor striping and signs, identification of safety equipment and personal protective equipment, and special machinery, equipment or warehouse operations so as to mitigate hazards and risks to employees and visitors in your facility.

Understanding ISO Safety Color Standards

Grasping floor marking color standards are crucial for ensuring workplace safety and maintaining compliance with regulations. The International Standards Organization (ISO) Safety Color Standards offer definitive and universal guidelines for safety colors, safety signs and safety markings, encompassing both OSHA and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) safety colors and hazard identification that are relevant across diverse industries.

About OSHA, ANSI and ISO Standards:

  • OSHA Regulations & ISO 7010: These standards govern safety markings in workplaces, ensuring standardization.
  • ANSI Z535.1 & OSHA Color requirements: These serve as guides for safety signage, markings, fire equipment, warnings and hazard identification.
  • ISO 7010: This section emphasizes the vital importance of safety signs and OSHA-compliant signs in preventing accidents, facilitating emergency evacuations, traffic safety, and enhancing overall safety protocols within any environment.

ISO 7010 Adoption and Compliance:

  • UK Adoption: In 2013, the UK's transition from BS 5499 to ISO 7010 signaled a significant stride towards global consistency in safety communication standards, underscoring the importance of these regulations in fostering a universal language for safety colors.
  • ANSI/ISO Colors: Mighty Line’s 5S and color catalogs offer a comprehensive floor marking guide, showcasing ANSI Z535.1-2022 and ISO 7010 compliant color marking selections. These include Yellow or Red (standard, photoluminescent, or reflective center stripe), Orange-Black Chevrons, White with Black or Red Chevrons, Black with Yellow or Orange Chevrons, Green, “Diamond-Plate” Yellow or Green, Blue, and numerous other colors and combinations. These options demonstrate practical implementation and a commitment to universally acknowledged safety colors and standards.
  • ISO Safety Color Standard 3864-1:2011: Provides guidelines for safety signs and signals in industrial applications, including hazard identification and safety communication.
  • OSHA Safety Color Requirements: While OSHA does not delve into specific floor marking colors, it highlights the importance of clear aisle safety tapes and layouts to ensure easy navigability and maintain safety within the workplace.

Implementing OSHA-compliant safety floor markings while rigorously adhering to OSHA safety color standards are critical steps in fostering a safer work environment. These guidelines emphasize the importance of using safety colors for quick hazard identification and implementing effective accident prevention measures.

Benefits of Standardized Floor Marking

Implementing standardized floor marking within industrial settings brings a multitude of benefits, directly impacting occupational health and safety and streamlining operational efficiency. Here's a closer look:

Safety and Compliance:

  • Occupational Health and Safety: Safety floor signs and well-planned floor markings serve as constant visual cues in manufacturing and warehousing, significantly reducing the likelihood of workplace accidents and enhancing worker safety through the strategic use of safety colors.
  • OSHA Standards: Adherence to OSHA's safety color standards, floor marking guidelines, and consistent application of safety colors throughout a facility are crucial not only for compliance and assuring a safe work environment, but also for avoiding potential penalties associated with potential safety violations.

Operational Efficiency Benefits of Employing Safety Colors:

  • Workflow Optimization: Incorporating Lean, 5S (or 6S/7S) floor marking strategies to delineate work areas, storage zones, and traffic pathways enhances operational efficiency, leading to a smoother workflow and improved inventory management. Additionally, aligning with safety procedures and practices in warehouses helps assure a safe working environment.
  • Visual Communication: Utilizing 5S floor marking examples, color-coded safety striping, floor signs and signals can swiftly convey essential information, reducing reliance on verbal directives and enhancing operational efficiency.

Cost-Effectiveness and Durability:

·       Economical Solution: Compared to traditional difficult-to-remove floor paints, the use of industrial-grade, patented beveled edge vinyl safety tape offers an economical yet durable solution capable of withstanding the rigorous demands of most industrial environments.

·       Maintenance: These floor markings require minimal upkeep, leading to a reduction in maintenance costs over time.

·       By employing a comprehensive floor marking guide and adhering to standardized floor marking standards, companies can create a workspace that is not only safer and more orderly but also compliant with safety standards and regulations. This is achieved through the strategic selection, use and placement of safety colors.

Color Codes, ISO Standards and Their Meanings

To ensure a safe and efficient workplace, clear communication is crucial, and this is where the advantage of color coding with safety colors becomes evident. Mighty Line’s comprehensive floor striping identification guides delve into the 5S and ANSI Z535.1-2011 and 2022 (latest edition) safety color standards, promoting a uniform safety color code to reduce confusion and enhance safety. The Mighty Line® 5S and Safety Color Guide is available online at www.mightylinetape.com or by contacting us.

·       Aisle Ways, Traffic Lanes, and Work Cells: Yellow is used for clear demarcation, indicating safe pathways and operational areas.

·       Equipment and Fixtures: White is utilized when equipment and fixtures are not differentiated by distinct safety colors. Safety labels and signs become indispensable in such cases, enabling swift identification and upholding a superior level of workplace safety.

·       Materials and Components: Blue, green, or black signals different stages of materials and components, from raw materials to finished goods.

·       Inspection Holds: Orange marks materials or products awaiting inspection, alerting employees to potential holdups in the process.

·       Safety and Compliance: Red and white stripe safety floor markings, or the application of anti-slip safety tapes, are intentionally positioned in zones that must be kept clear for safety or compliance purposes, such as areas in front of electrical panels or firefighting apparatus. Black and white stripe reflective safety tapes and aisle marking tapes outline areas that should remain free from obstruction to boost operational efficiency, and they are methodically placed across the workplace.

·       Hazard Identification: Yellow and black stripe tape is used for areas posing physical or health hazards, providing a visual cue to exercise caution. Orange and black stripe warning tape is used to provide a visual cue to exercise greater caution.

·       Means of Egress Support: Yellow or Red stripe tape is available with a center photoluminescent stripe, there to augment existing OSHA and NFPA101 compliant emergency lighting systems and illuminated exit signage, in order to enhance egress and exiting during loss-of-lighting scenarios. Fully photoluminescent floor tape is also available from Mighty Line® (contact Mighty Line® for options and details).

Moreover, the strategic deployment of shapes like arrows, circles, triangles, and crosses, and shapes to demarcate storage racking e.g., in conjunction with safety colors, can effectively direct and inform employees about traffic flow, equipment placement, caution zones, and restricted areas. This methodical use of color coding and shapes, adhering to ISO and ANSI standards, is vital for a workspace that is safe, efficient, and compliant, incorporating hazard communication to a higher level.

Best Practices for Implementing Floor Marking with ISO Standards in mind

Implementing floor marking in your facility is a strategic approach to enhancing safety. Adhering to best practices is crucial for improving safety and operational efficiency. Consulting authoritative resources, such as the Mighty Line® 5S and Safety Color Guide, is highly recommended to ensure the effectiveness and durability of your safety colors and floor markings.

·       Simplify Your Color Scheme:

    • Use as few colors as possible to avoid confusion.
    • Standardize colors for specific hazards or areas throughout the facility.
    • Opt for options like glow-in-the-dark tape, which features safety colors that stand out prominently against the floor surface and maintain high temporary visibility upon loss of lighting.
    • Align floor marking colors with other visual safety communication methods used in the facility.

·       Planning and Maintenance:

    • Develop a comprehensive plan for floor markings, considering input from all facility areas.
    • Incorporate safety topics into the planning stages and involve team members from different departments to meet all safety training requirements and address concerns comprehensively.
    • Regularly inspect and maintain floor markings to ensure they remain visible and effective.
    • Educate employees on the meaning of floor markings, floor signage and their proper use, and means of egress and evacuation.

·       Application Best Practices ISO standards:

    • Adhere to safety regulations by ensuring facility aisles and warehouse floor markings meet OSHA color codes for safety, maintaining a minimum width of 2 inches, and ideally 4 inches inch wide floor tape is common in today’s industrial occupancies.
    • Thoroughly clean and prepare the floor surface before applying tape or signs.
    • Use durable and high-quality floor marking materials, such as Mighty Line® Floor Marking Tapes.
    • Mark means of egress and keep pedestrians and vehicles separated for enhanced safety.

Following a comprehensive floor marking guide and adhering to OSHA guidelines are critical for fostering a safer, more efficient workplace that not only aligns with ISO standards but also capitalizes on the advantages of well-planned safety signs and markings.

Maintaining Compliance with ISO Standards

Applying warehouse floor marking guidelines to your facility's floor markings is not just about compliance; it's a proactive step towards a safer work environment, underpinned by the strategic use of safety colors in visual cues.

OSHA and ISO Standards Floor Marking Guidelines:

1.     Luminous Egress Path Markings: Life safety and fire signage, along with the strategic use of safety colors, are essential in high-rise buildings, as required most commonly by the International Fire Code and International Building Code. Also the New York City (and others) Municipal Fire and Building Code. Some City Codes also augment the IFC/IBC, and also enforce certain NFPA Codes and Standards. This assures unmistakable safety standards and instructions for building occupants.

2.     Aisle and Passageway Markings: OSHA Standards require appropriate marking of permanent aisles and passageways.

3.     Clearance and Width Requirements: For optimal safety and efficiency, maintaining proper clearances for aisles and other areas is essential. This involves ensuring they are free of obstructions and well-outlined with safety colors/striping, aligning with warehouse and 5S floor marking guidleines.

Common Safety Color Codes:

  1. Red: Indicates fire protection equipment, flammable liquids, stop buttons, and emergency electrical switches.
  2. Yellow: Marks physical hazards.
  3. High Voltage Equipment: Requires specific clearance distances around the equipment.

Compliance with Visual ISO Standards:

  1. OSHA Recommendations address exposures to Mechanical Equipment, Machinery and Chemical Exposures, General Environmental Controls, and Means of Egress and Exiting.
  2. International Fire Code (IFC), International Building Code (IBC), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and International Standards Organization (ISO) Standards: Aligning your facility's markings with recognized safety color codes and visual communication standards, as outlined in safety color code charts and tables (which correlate with ISO), is essential for creating and maintaining a safe and regulation-compliant work environment.

Incorporating safety colors into your organization’s safety standards and procedures not only ensures adherence to regulations but also reflects a deep commitment to the well-being of your workforce, showcasing a proactive employer in workplace safety and health.

Conclusion of ISO Standards

This in-depth analysis of ISO safety color standards for floor marking has revealed the critical role that these safety colors play in fortifying floor markings and ensuring a safe and secure work environment. Integrating safety colors into your protocols, as detailed in Mighty Line’s comprehensive 5S and Safety Color and Floor Marking Guides, will significantly enhance operational efficiency. This adoption of color codes while effecting commensurate employee training reduces accidents and optimizes operations. Adherence to standardized floor marking and safety colors not only aligns with domestic and international safety standards but also fosters a safer, more systematic work setting, essential for a vigilant and productive industrial environment.

The benefits of implementing safety colors and safety management standards extend beyond compliance; they embody a forward-thinking approach to employee protection and production workflow optimization. Consistent application of such safety measures significantly uplifts the workplace's health and safety culture, aligning with Mighty Line Monday Minute's vision for operational and safety excellence. Explore Mighty Line's extensive range of products, crafted with safety colors and industrial safety principles at the forefront, to ensure a comprehensive approach to safety products and software in modern industrial settings.


What are the standard color codes for floor markings?

  • White is used to mark equipment, general production areas, workstations, carts, floor displays, and racks.
  • Red is designated for highlighting fire protection equipment, or defects, scrap, rework, and red tag areas.
  • Orange is typically used for material holding areas or areas awaiting inspection.
  • Black, green, blue, and purple are colors used to mark areas containing raw materials, work-in-progress items, finished goods, or safety equipment or first-aide stations.

What does OSHA require for floor markings?

  • OSHA floor marking standards advise markings to be at least 2 inches wide for visibility, with a width of 4 to 6 inches for ideal clarity. Markings should incorporate safety colors and adhere to OSHA/ANSI saftey color standards (which correlate with ISO).
  • Generally, aisles should maintain a width of at least 4 feet, or 3 feet wider than the largest equipment to be used, as per OSHA's safety directives [see NFPA 101 Life Safety Code for details].

See our blogs about NFPA and ANSI and OSHA standards

Which color is specifically used for safety on floors?

  • Safety yellow, a key safety color for caution, is integral to safety floor markings, offering high contrast in solid, striped, or diagonal patterns with black. Safety green denotes safety and emergency pathways, and marks first aid and safety equipment locations, aligning with safety color meanings.

What do different colored lines on the floor signify regarding safety?

  • Red hazard signs, incorporating safety colors, are pivotal in highlighting potential fire-related dangers. They ensure that fire signage is strategically placed and highly visible, aiding in pinpointing the exact locations of fire protection equipment, as well as emergency switches and buttons on hazardous machinery.


Yellow safety floor markings, utilizing OSHA safety colors, play a crucial role, similar to a yield sign by signaling caution. These markings serve as visual safety signs, alerting individuals to potential hazards such as tripping or falling and/or avoiding “struck-by” accidents, and by demarcate safety zones such as within a shop or facility. Adhering to ANSI/ISO Safety Color Standards for floor marking is essential for injury and illness prevention, regulatory compliance, and operational efficiency - making these markings an integral and essential component of workplace safety. Hopefully this helps you learn more about ISO standards in floor marking tape and floor signs. 










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