Clean and Retrieve – Blog post

Factory floor markings: 5S colour standards 

Floor markings make it easy for employees and visitors to get around their workplace smoothly. 

Every business requires something slightly different to accommodate its processes, protocols and space. If you’re wondering how to choose the design of your floor markings, the Japanese lean principles of 5S are a good place to start. 

So, let’s dive into it. 

What does 5S have to do with floor markings? 

5S is a set of principles associated with lean manufacturing. The 5S principles originated in Japan, famously connected with Japanese car manufacturer Toyota. Each S stands for a different word that makes up the principles. 

At the heart of the 5S model is the belief that an organised workplace can boost efficiency and productivity. So, what does this have to do with factory floor markings? 

Clear floor markings are a visual way of communicating the kind of information employees need to maintain a well-organised and safe workplace. Line markings can be used to signal hazards, designate walkways, and draw attention to fire equipment.   

What is the 5S floor marking colour standard? 

While there is no universally standardised set of colours for 5S floor markings, some commonly accepted colour coding practices exist in workplaces. 

The specific colour standards may vary from one organisation to another, but these general guidelines cover some of the colour standards. 

Yellow Aisles, walkways, areas that require caution, work cells 
Red Safety/first aid-related, fire equipment, defects/scrap areas
Green/blue/blackProduction areas or storage locations 
Orange Goods held for inspection 
Black and yellowHazardous areas, extra caution needs to be taken here
White Areas not otherwise colour-coded 

This list is not exhaustive but underlines the importance of sticking to a set of colour floor markings for your factory or warehouse. 

Can floor markings improve workplace safety? 

A well-organised workplace can improve productivity and safety. Floor markings fulfil multiple purposes, showing you the safest way to get around and highlighting hazards. 

One of the most obvious uses of floor markings is delineating walkways where pedestrians can safely get out of the way of moving vehicles. As well as providing directional arrows for on-site vehicles such as forklift trucks. 

Factory floor markings can also be used to: 

  • Demarcate hazardous areas where extra caution should be taken 
  • Identify the location of fire extinguishers and first aid stations 
  • Demarcate storage areas, workstations, and equipment placement
  • Outline walkways and emergency exits 

Overall, floor markings provide visual cues and guidance, enabling employees to understand and follow established processes and protocols quickly and safely.

5S colour standards – the key takeaway 

Colour is a universally understood language for most people, which is why it’s commonly used as a shortcut to convey important information quickly. It provides a way of helping people get around safely and streamline workflow for improved productivity. 

We’ve put some general colour guidelines in this blog, but you can choose your own. There isn’t a standard set of 5S colours – the idea is that you select a schema for your workplace and stick with it.  

Post author
Darren Riggott
Date of blog post
10 November 2023

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