Using Floor Markings

It is not uncommon for warehouse managers to use floor marking including different color tape to assist forklift drivers and their co-workers as they perform their duties. Still, floor marking is more

Clean floor markings keep forklift drivers cautious as they drive.
Clean edged markings offer messages to forklift drivers and employees that ensure safe operations in the warehouse.
(Courtesy: Empire Parking Lot Services at

than just slapping some tape on the floor. The type of tape you use and how durable it is are essential concerns. Designing patterns is also important so a glance at the floor allows the driver to quickly ascertain what sections of the warehouse he can ignore.

Details in a floor marking strategy that warehouse managers, forklift drivers, and pedestrian workers need to be concerned with include:

• Color of the tape to be used to mark the floor.
• Designs on the tape itself.
• The durability of the tape being used.
• The best way to ensure visibility of the tape.
• Shapes of the marks made on the floor.
• Floor marking paint.
• Applying floor-marking paint.
• Paint color options
• Potential problems with floor marking paint.
• Virtual floor markings.
• Maintaining floor markings.
• Training personnel on the meaning of floor markings.

Floor Marking Tape

It is very common for warehouses, brick and mortar retail stores, and even manufacturing plants to use floor markings as a way to communicate with employees. When properly placed, the tape remains on the floor and offers excellent visibility for many years, not just a few days, weeks, or months. Tape is a great way to mark small and large segments of a warehouse.

Typically, floor-marking tape is used to designate aisles. It helps personnel to understand what areas are open for walking and sets boundaries for the aisles.

Many warehouse managers are also aware that floor marking tape can be used to define small areas and corners around which the forklift operator will have to navigate.

Another benefit to floor marking tape that many warehouse managers may not be aware of is that there is a plethora of types from which to choose. So a manager can use different styles of tape to convey different messages.

Colors Available

Floor marking tape is available in a wide assortment of colors. This can provide many benefits. For example, red floor marking tape can be used to indicate the location of heat-related hazards. This would convey the message that employees who traverse this area should probably were personal protective equipment.

The large assortment of colors also ensure that a warehouse can easily comply with OSHA color marking standards. There are also a wide range of marking tapes that have designs printed on them. The designs on the tape helps to communicate a specific message that colored tape may not be able to. For example, warehouses have been known to use floor tape with black and yellow stripes to note that personnel must use caution when crossing into this section of the warehouse.

Tape Durability

There is no need to worry that floor marking tape can’t survive through the rough and tumble activity of a warehouse. Of course, it is understandable that a manager may fear a problem of durability. Heavy-duty work is being performed and different styles of material handling equipment is passing over the tape and could be scraping it. One could expect that personnel walking over the tape for a long period of time could cause it to fade. Choosing the right type of tape will avoid any of these problems and others from occurring.

Tape Visibility

Bright colored floor markings are very visible.
(Courtesy: Martina_Snowhite at

Of course, for floor marking tape to convey the proper message, it is essential that it be visible. There’s nothing to worry about this issue. Bight colors used on floor marking tape are very visible.

Of course, regardless of how bright the color of the tape is, it may not be visible in areas of the warehouse that are not well lit. However, in this case, there are glow-in-the-dark floor marking tape available. This type of tape absorbs light when available and glows when it isn’t.

Another good alternative of floor marking tape for darkened areas of the warehouse include reflective tape. Manufacturers of this type of tape add a reflective surface so it can be seen when a light is shined upon it. So, this tape is ideal for forklift operators who drive their lifts with the lights on in darkened areas of the warehouse.

Floor Marking Shapes

Creating shapes with the floor marking tapes denote different messages than tape in a straight line. Tape formed into a footprint can denote walking paths. One can also use tape to actually spell out a message in words that workers can easily understand.

Examples of situations in which floor marking shapes can be used include:

• Placing corners around pallets, bins, boxes, and in other storage areas to keep the area organized.
• Use corners around waste receptacles to remind maintenance crews to put the containers back where they belong.
• Place X’s in areas were four pallets meet; or T’s where two pallets meet to assure aligned edges.
• Use dots instead of solid tape to create boundaries.
• Place footprint decals along pedestrian walkways.
• Place arrows to direct people to exits, restrooms, offices, and other important locations.
• Use strips to create boundaries around machines and other equipment.
• Place mini corners on desks or workbenches to mark where tools, bins, trays and more belong.

Floor Markings Are Cost Effective

Floor marking tape helps manage overall costs because of the time and effort to install them. One person can install the tape and there is no need to stop work in the area in which the tape is being applied.

Floor Marking Paint

An alternative to tape as a floor marker is floor-marking paint. However, care needs to be taken to ensure that the resulting mark is neat with crisp edges.

Floor marking paint can be used on public roads nearby the warehouse. It can also be used inside a facility to convey a message.

When using floor-marking paint, keep in mind that it needs time to dry after application. No one can be allowed to touch the paint. It is suggested that you allow floor-marking paint at least overnight to dry so there are no streaks or paint tracked to other areas of the facility. One advantage of using floor-marking paint is the abundance of available colors.

When considering using paint as a floor marker, consider that a forklift driving over it can drag against the paint and cause it to chip away. You should also consider the fact that paint is more difficult to remove from the floor than tape. It may be necessary to use chemicals to remove the paint and that might require the facility be closed. However, tape can be removed fairly easily.

Virtual Floor Markings

The alternatives for floor marking doesn’t end with tape or paint. You can use what is called virtual floor markings instead. This is commonly light or laser projectors that create an image on the floor.

The advantages of using virtual floor markings include:

• It can very easily be removed. There are no long-term residue to this form of marking. So, it is ideal for conveying a message that may change over time.
• High level of visibility. Virtual floor markings can be seen very well, even in the dark.
• Adjustability. You can adjust the image displayed including changing the design, color, and size.

Maintaining Floor Markings

Keeping floor markings well maintained is essential to their success. The markings need to last for a long time. Tape and paint can be cleaned in the same manner in which the floor is cleaned. Using mops or cleaning machines keeps dust, oil, grease, and other substances from building up.

Keep in mind that paint and tape will wear off over time. When this occurs imply reapply the paint or replace the tape. Tell your maintenance team to actively observe the condition of the markings so that they are replaced when necessary.

Training Personnel The Meaning Of Floor Markings

As the markings are being applied around the facility, be certain to inform your personnel exactly what they mean. This would include the meaning of each color and the different shapes and patterns.

Of course, new employees should be trained on the meaning of the markings within the first days they take the job. However, it is also important to periodically remind the veteran workers during refresher training sessions.