5S Floor Markings

A major component of operating within LEAN or 5S principles is creating a visual workplace. By ensuring information is passed to staff and visitors in an easy to see and understand method you can eliminate confusion and improve efficiency. From keeping files in colour coded binders to displaying notices on differently coloured boards, the use of colour plays an important role in getting this element right.

Anyone who visits your site should be able to identify the flow of work within 60 seconds. In order to do this successfully, floor marking in the form of paints or tapes should be employed to delineate areas and indicate routes used by pedestrians and vehicles. Colour coded floor marking is a fundamental part of 5S working and will quite literally provide the groundwork for future stages. Our guide to floor marking includes information on preparation and planning, colour conventions and whether paints or tapes are right for you.

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Floor Marking Guide



5S methodology works within your business to reduce waste in all its forms and use the associated savings to offer a better service or product to customers. It does this in part by creating a visual workplace that organises your site and operations to allow work to flow more efficiently. The second stage of this process is “Set in Order” which looks to arrange products, tools and locations so they are easy to find and use. This can make considerable savings by minimising the time taken to complete a task and reducing unnecessary movement. Colour coded floor marking will work in tandem with your existing warehouse identification equipment and is a fundamental part of the “Set in Order” stage. Although it can take some planning, it is incredibly simple to implement.

Floor Marking Preparation and Planning Tips



An important part of getting floor marking right is taking the time to properly prepare, plan and test your system so that all elements work as efficiently as they should. Before you begin it’s a good idea to consult with team leaders to discuss how and where they work and whether there are any particular requirements they have, such as marking electrical areas or machinery. Although you will likely receive various comments about what is needed, floor marking must be standardised, so compromises might need to be made.

Once you have a proposed floor plan, it can be good idea to mark areas with coloured tape in the first instance so its suitability can be assessed. Ask for feedback and use this stage to evaluate what changes might be needed before moving to more permanent solutions, such as paint.

Areas that should be considered for marking include work cells and equipment borders, material storage spaces, such as racking and any locations that could be potentially dangerous. If motorised handling equipment such as forklift trucks is used on your site these should be separated from pedestrian routes.

Also consider marking spaces for storing equipment that might be used throughout the day, such as pallet trucks or brooms. This is especially helpful if you operate on a shift basis as staff will know exactly where items can be found.

Warehouse Floor Marking Colours – Choosing What Works for You



When deciding how to mark out your site and which colours to use it is important to keep your methodology as simple as possible. One of the points of floor marking is that it’s easy to understand. If staff have to learn a complicated key of colours the system is likely to fail. It is recommended that a maximum of 8 colours be used. In order to meet this target, coloured labels can be used to subcategorise items held within a larger area if required. Depending on your situation, a very simple “traffic light” system which uses just 3 colours could be the best way of working.

Green – safe areas and/or completed work
Yellow – proceed with caution and/or work in progress
Red – danger and/or no entry

These can be combined with white markings to indicate general areas.

Although there is no industry standard for which colours should be used, some certainly have associations that can work as shorthand. As well as those mentioned above, blue is often used to represent information, orange indicates items waiting to be worked on and striped markers highlight safety equipment or a hazard of some sort.

Floor Tape, Line Marking Paint and Other Markers



Floor marking tape is almost certainly the quickest way to separate areas or indicate routes across your site. Look for a solution such as the Toughstripe™ tape that is durable for high traffic areas and resistant to chemicals and extreme temperatures. It is also easy to remove should your layout need to change. The EASYLINE® system of paints and applicators will produce a quick-drying, permanent line both in and out of doors. When lines aren’t required the same paints can be used with stencils to create symbols or words. Specific markers are also available for doorways and equipment.

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