University Human Resources
Part IV: General Rules
Color Coding and Signs
OSHA citation 1910.120, 1910.145, 1910.1200
- 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.)
- 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:
- RED - indicates (1) danger, (2) stop or (3) presence of fire protection equipment.
- 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.
- YELLOW - warns of physical hazards and means caution. A striped or checkered pattern of yellow and black may be used to help attract attention.
- BLUE - denotes “caution” and its use is restricted to marking out-of-service equipment which should not be used.
- GREEN - indicates either the location of safety equipment such as first aid materials or conveys safety information.
- PURPLE - used for radiation hazards. It may contain a combination of purple and yellow.
- 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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