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Floor Marking Helps Eliminate Confusion

03 February, 2023

Floor marking is a great way to indicate where pedestrian traffic should go. It also is a great way to establish work boundaries and more.

A few months ago I walked into a coffee shop and witnessed the chaos. There was a long counter with two people taking orders but customers didn't know where the line or lines should form; everyone entering had to ask everyone else, "Are you in line?" There was no designated place for people to wait for orders either. I realized it would take me five minutes just to determine my place in line, so I left. For want of a few yards of floor marking tape, this shop lost a customer. At best customers succeed in acquiring their coffee but leave frustrated and unlikely to return.

Why create discomfort and confusion? When easily remedied, why take that business risk? Designate some zones and introduce some structure. I started watching for situations in which floor marking would save the day. Split a grocery store aisle down the center with some floor marking tape and people would be far more likely to keep their cart to one side, making room for others. Add some directional arrows wherever there's confusion, indoors or out. Stores could direct you to aisles where similar products could be found. Color coding can extend the helpfulness: blue could indicate frozen goods, green for produce, etc. Floor space is frequently wasted when it could be used to convey helpful messages.

Forklift collisions with workers are one of the top causes of workplace fatalities. Why is floor marking so poorly regulated by OSHA when issues can be reduced with a small amount of floor marking tape? It lasts for years so it's a very little hassle for a lot of gains.

In my endeavor to save the world from unnecessary chaos and injuries/fatalities, I'll toss out some ideas as to what floor marking tapes can accomplish. I'll approach it by type.

Heavy Duty

Aisle tape is what you use when you have industrial conditions, like a warehouse with a lot of forklift traffic. Buy a few rolls and set up some lanes to separate forklift traffic from pedestrian traffic, it's inexpensive and easy to do.

Anti-Slip Floor Tape

Use tread to prevent slips and falls, the most common workplace injury. Their course surface will help create traction on slippery surfaces, and they're indoor/outdoor so you can put them pretty much anywhere that people could slip. Lay down a safe area on potentially wet surfaces and help keep employees upright.

Another good use of tread is to put strips at the outer edge of steps to prevent slips. For extra durability or tricky surfaces that labels won't adhere to, you can opt for bolt-down plates. These are tread-covered metal strips which get bolted to the edges of stairs. Genius!

Glow in the Dark Tape

Power outages are a reality. It's not a question of whether it will happen, but when. Glow tape guides your employees to safety during emergency evacuations. Running glow tapes along the edge of stairwells and on handrails is also a good slip-and-fall preventative. It is also a good idea to run a strip of glow floor marking tapes alongside main pathways leading directly to exit routes. This will keep workers from tripping over pallets or falling into machines, should the power go out. It will also help them find the emergency exit and get there quickly.

Particularly if your facility has few windows, or if you run a night shift, you need to be prepared for very low visibility should the lights go out. To test whether you've set up an effective exit system, turn out the lights and try to make your way through the facility. If you bump into things on the way, there's still work to be done.

Reflective Tape

I love these rolls. Even in daylight they're dynamic. If you have poles, walls, fences, or inventory in low-light conditions, place some reflective tape at headlight level. The reflected light will grab the driver's attention and help prevent damage from forklifts or vehicles.

So my big love would be for retail establishments to get onboard with floor marking supplies and iron out some of the problems for their customers or potential customers. We came here to shop, help us to do that, it's in your best interest. And help create a positive experience for us from the moment we first enter your parking lot, and throughout the shopping experience.

But even those with no public areas can appreciate the efficiency and safety aspects of a floor marking system. Do a facility walk around, note potential hazards, watch traffic flow and see where there are hang-ups, and then shop for floor marking supplies and be impressed at how a little effort can improve your work world for everyone.