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OSHA regulations say that permanent aisles and passageways must be marked (1910.176(a)). The agency also explains that one way employers can provide safe access and egress to and from walking-working surfaces per 1910.22(c) is by “appropriately marking” passageways and permanent aisles as a means of identifying safe access and egress. Neither regulation defines how aisle marking should be done.
A common method for marking is by using painted lines or strips of floor-marking tape. These methods are convenient and inexpensive and may hold up for several years without maintenance. The color yellow is popular, possibly because OSHA designates yellow as the “caution” color, to be used for marking physical hazards, such as stumbling, falling, or tripping (1910.144(a)(3)). However, OSHA has long accepted aisle marking of any color that is at least two inches or wider composed of dots, squares, or continuous lines that define the aisle area.
ANSI Z535.1, Safety Color Code, also defines “safety yellow” as the identification of caution, and the consensus standard has recommended the use of solid yellow, yellow and black stripes, or yellow and black checkers, for maximum contrast with the particular background. It also designates combinations of yellow and black as the preferred method for traffic markings.
Because floor markings may be infeasible or impractical for dirt floors and floors that have accumulations of sand or dust, OSHA has long offered other appropriate aisle-marking options, like marking pillars, powder stripping, flags, traffic cones, barrels, and other devices, as long as recognition of these are included in the vehicle operator and employee training programs