Paving My Driveway Again

The What, Why, And How Of Warehouse Markings: A Primer For Managers

by Minnie Larson

Pop quiz: what's more important than inventory turnover, days on hand, and worker productivity combined? If you answered "safety," then you got it in one. A modern warehouse environment is a dangerous place, and absolutely nothing is more important than the safety of the workers that run it. Floor workers implicitly understand the importance of safety, but the specifics of warehouse safety are frequently lost on management. Proper floor markings are the cornerstone of any warehouse safety program, and this straightforward primer will quickly get you up to speed on why they matter so much.

Marker Basics

Floor markings aren't complicated, but they are crucial to a safe work environment. Floor markings serve two primary purposes: to delineate safe and unsafe work areas and to mark specific hazards or storage zones. Markers are typically laid down using either paint or tape. Paint was more common in the past, but modern marker tape is highly durable. Newer facilities often choose to use tape since it tends to require replacement less often than paint.

Why You Need Them

One of the primary roles for floor markings is to designate paths for heavy and potentially dangerous machinery. Everything from order pickers to forklifts should have their own marked pathways. Marking floors in this manner guarantees that your employees do not find themselves in the path of equipment that could injure or kill them. These paths are especially important when dealing with new employees who may not have yet fully learned the intricacies of your particular workplace. Properly marked work zones can even help to cut down on training time.

If this wasn't enough justification, OSHA standards require that permanent pathways be marked. How these pathways are marked is left up to the discretion of individual business operators, but fines can be severe for leaving paths completely unmarked.

How to Develop a Marking Scheme

Since OSHA standards do not prescribe any particular method for path marking, this is an exercise that is left up to your company's safety team. Often, separate markings are used to distinguish machine pathways from human pathways. Specialized hazard markings are used commonly near automated machinery or areas that are particularly hazardous.

Remember that merely marking areas and aisles is not enough; the scheme used must also be apparent to your employees and anyone else that may be present on the floor. If your markings seem to be unclear, floor signage can be an excellent way to explicitly show what each zone is for. Signs with a color key for aisle markers should also be placed prominently as a reminder to workers and as an aid for any guests that may be present on the floor.

For more information, contact a company that offers warehouse marking services.