• Home
  • MROMakeSpaceTime

Make time and “S.P.A.C.E” for Color Coding—it’s important.

Color coding is becoming increasingly important in industrial, commercial and telecom environments. Color coding provides a quick and easy way to identify items or spaces and communicate important messages.

Many industry organizations, like OSHA, ANSI, and ISO have recognized the usefulness of color coding and have created standards that, if followed, increase the usefulness of colors on the jobsite, in an MRO facility, or in virtually any workplace. Below is a snapshot of some of the governing color standards:
ANSI 606-B
Guidelines for maintaining telecommunications infrastructure
OSHA
1910.144
Safety color code for marking physical hazards.
ANSI Z535
Specifications and requirements to establish uniformity of safety color coding, environmental / facility safety signs and the communication of safety symbols.
ISO 3864
Establishes principles for the design of safety labels for products to alert persons to a specific hazard and to identify how the hazard can be avoided.
ISO 7010
Prescribes the use of safety signs (colors, shapes & symbols) for the purposes of accident prevention, fire protection, hazard information and emergency evacuation.
ANSI/ASME
A13.1
Addresses pipe marking by offering a common labeling method for use in all industrial, commercial, institutional facilities and in buildings used for public assembly.
DYMO Color Standards Chart
Color coding helps an organization to be safer, more productive, pass more internal and external audits, communicate important messages, and drive efficiency throughout process and workflows. A quick and easy way to remember the benefits of color coding is the acronym S.P.A.C.E.

Safety – Promote and safe work place, reduce injuries
Productivity – Reduce downtime, save money
Pass Audits – Avoid OSHA and other audit fines
Communication – Deliver messages clearly & consistently
Efficiency – Streamline processes & workflows
Safety
The use of color to identify and alert employees of potential hazards is widely accepted all over the globe. Standards like ISO 3864/7010 and ANSI Z535 provide specific color combinations in addition to proper signal words (like DANGER, WARNING, CAUTION, and NOTICE) that should be used when marking a facility. When an employee approaches a high voltage circuit breaker and there is a red sign with white text that reads “DANGER”, the employee then immediately knows additional safety precautions are necessary. For example outfitting themselves with the proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
Productivity
Color coding can be especially useful when an organization prescribes to 5S. 5S is considered the industry “best practice” for organizing a workspace to extract maximum efficiency and productivity. The second “S” in 5S stands for Straightening. Straightening or straightening out clearly states the need for all items to have a clearly designated and labeled place. By color coding your items you will quickly be able to tell if something is out of place and therefore interrupting your optimal workflow. When items are not where they go it results in wasted time, which more often than not, means wasted money.
Pass Audits
Pass more internal and external audits with color code compliance to all required safety and organizational audits. Whether it is an OSHA or internal audits, the use of color coding for proper organization and hazard communication is usually part of the score card.
Communication
Color coding is a great way to communicate potential hazards in a standardized fashion. Employees can quickly recognize if a signage is communicating general information if it is blue or a warning if it is orange. Color coding is also useful to communicate with employees who do not speak English as their first language.
Efficiency
Every organization is looking for ways to be more efficient and color coding is a quick and easy way to gain efficiency. For example, a manufacturing facility could color-code the tools in work area one with blue labels and those associated with work area two with yellow labels and so on and so forth. This will permit the employees and supervisors to quickly identify if a tool is out of place or missing before it causes downtime because a tool is in the wrong area and therefore missing from the area where it is actually needed.
Labels are a great and relatively inexpensive way to color code your workplace. It is key, however, when using labels to color code that you use the right label for the job at hand. For example, you don’t want to use a label with poor UV and water resistance outdoors, where it is exposed to sunlight and rain.

DYMO Industrial – Rhino Vinyl labels are UL recognized and provide a broad array of industry relevant color combinations and the proper adhesive and environmental and chemical resistance for a number of industrial or commercial jobs.

Below is a chart that shows when to use which label type (Keep in mind, Vinyl is the most versatile):

DYMO Color Standards Chart