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Home > Employee Relations > Safety Manual > Color Coding and Signs

Part IV: General Rules
Color Coding and Signs

OSHA citation 1910.120, 1910.145, 1910.1200

  1. Color coding is a visual reminder system to warn, inform and guide employees. OSHA assigns specific meanings to certain colors. Colors can be a warning of a particular hazard or give information or directions. (These colors should not be confused with National Fire Protection Association diamond placards.)
  2. Color coding is considered highly desirable. The main intent, however, is not to demand it in shops and laboratories, but to recognize a standard color code wherever color coding is used. Be aware of your specific work area and the color coding system used there

    These colors usually indicate the following:
    1. RED - indicates (1) danger, (2) stop or (3) presence of fire protection equipment.
    2. ORANGE - marks the dangerous parts of machines or energized equipment which may cut, crush, shock or injure employees. Orange emphasizes these hazards when the guards or enclosures around them are open.
    3. YELLOW - warns of physical hazards and means caution. A striped or checkered pattern of yellow and black may be used to help attract attention.
    4. BLUE - denotes “caution” and its use is restricted to marking out-of-service equipment which should not be used.
    5. GREEN - indicates either the location of safety equipment such as first aid materials or conveys safety information.
    6. PURPLE - used for radiation hazards. It may contain a combination of purple and yellow.
    7. BLACK & WHITE - or a combination of the two are used to designate traffic and housekeeping markings. Stripes, checkers or other variations are often used.

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Page updated: July 2006
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