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Improve Your Safety Program With Color Coding

by Julie on December 17, 2014

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Research has shown that people make 90 percent of their decisions to buy a product based on its color alone. Different colors evoke different emotions. Fast food restaurants choose red for their branding because its attention grabbing and stimulating. Tech companies and social media platforms choose blue because of its relation to clarity and productivity. This blog explores how harnessing the psychological power of color coding when developing a safety program can help improve its effectiveness.


Color Coding Safety:

psychological power of color in safety program
A safety program requires the implementation of colors that quickly identify and draw attention to potential safety hazards while conveying urgency and importance. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established a nationwide safety color coding system that all businesses must adhere to. Those safety color code designations are as follows:



psychological power of color in safety program
Red is the most well-recognized sign for hazards. Red signals emergency, fire, danger and directs people to be alert. OSHA uses red to identify containers of flammable liquids. Red is also used to highlight areas of fire extinguishing and protective equipment.



psychological power of color in safety program

OSHA uses orange for warning tags. The markings could be used for unguarded hazards, dangerous equipment or moving parts.



psychological power of color in safety program
Yellow denotes caution of physical hazards like tripping or falling. Yellow can be used with black checkers or stripe to draw attention to the hazard.



psychological power of color in safety program
Green is used to signify safe areas of a workplace. Green can also be used to mark first aid equipment or safety equipment used for purposes other than preventing fires.



psychological power of color in safety program
Equipment that is under repair or in need of repair should be marked with blue. This prevents harm to workers or further damage to the equipment.


Purple or Magenta:

psychological power of color in safety program
Purple and magenta are often used in combination with yellow to designate radiation hazards.


Black and White:

psychological power of color in safety program
This color combination is typically used for traffic and housekeeping markings, such as directional signs for stairways, dead ends of aisles or passageways, or borders.

Not Just for Work

You can be as bold as you want with your workplace color decor, but when it comes to ensuring the safety of your workers, safety takes priority over pizzazz. The ANSI- and OSHA-recommended colors are a must in any safety program in a business or industrial setting, but they are also safety colors that should be used at any place where there’s a risk for accidents and hazards.

(Want more ways to stay safe at work? Check out our 5 Tips to Reduce Hand Injuries infographic!)

how do I improve my safety program?
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