Safety in a factory or workshop is a serious matter. There needs to be proper training for everybody in the work-place in how to keep themselves and others safe and how to use equipment properly. Communication is key to compliance with safety standards, and one of the aids to communication that can be very useful is a surprising one: safety tape!
Obviously, machines with moving parts can be dangerous. The machine operator has a safe area where he or she can position himself to work. The machines should be fitted with all appropriate protections, but sometimes a complete physical barrier isn’t possible. In those cases, brightly colored safety tape can highlight boundaries very effectively, especially if there is a clear color coding, such as an understanding that yellow indicates a boundary that should in no circumstances be crossed.
For other workers in the factory, machines with moving parts can have a no-go area all around them marked out by the tape.
Door swing areas
Another common hazard is the risk of a door being pushed open suddenly and colliding with a person on the other side, who might be carrying hazardous materials. To avoid this, the swing area of the door could be marked by tape, enabling people to avoid it.
Marking correct positions
Tape can be used to indicate the spot where various objects belong when not in use. Tape around parking spots for shop vehicles like forklift trucks means that everyone knows where to find them, as they will always be in the same place when not in use. It also makes it easier for other vehicles to avoid a collision, since brightly colored tape makes the vehicle itself more obviously visible.
Trash bins are another example of a movable object that needs a home space. You need to know where to find them and you need to know where they will be so that you can avoid collisions. Safety tape is ideal to mark out a bin area.
Tape can be used to indicate the position of warehouse aisles. If there is a bright, visible line in front of shelving, that will help make shelving areas more visible to drivers and assist in avoiding collisions. An additional potential function in this case could be a color coding system for the stock stored in particular aisles.
Communicating through color
The tape is a creative safety product that helps to keep the workforce safe by communicating a variety of safety messages.
The color tape that you use to indicate a hazardous no-go area should be different from the color you use to designate a parking or a bin area. There may be other distinctive colors that you want to use for indicate different messages. If there are areas where workers need to be aware of potential chemical hazards, warning could be given by way of a green colored tape round the doorway. Blue tape could warn of the risk of steam venting.
Applying safety tape
It’s important to apply tape to a clean area to ensure proper adhesiveness. So for floor tape, the floor should be cleaned first.
To get a straight line, it’s useful to use a chalk guide.
You can lay the tape straight in the desired floor position before removing the backing to avoid accidentally sticking it in the wrong place. Once it’s in position, you should only remove the protective backing tape slowly, as you stick the tape down. A long length of unprotected tape could lead to a disastrous tangle.
A helpful solution to problems with laying tape neatly is the tape applicator, which can be pushed across the floor rather like an old-fashioned lawn mower, dispensing and flattening down tape as it goes. Guides keep the tape straight. With proper training, this device can be a big help in getting a neat job done.
If you need to get the tape to turn a corner, you can either cut a fresh piece of tape to start off in the new direction, or turn a corner without using a new length by cutting a slit in the tape and turning the corner with a continuous piece. Or you can choose the most fool-proof method of all and use ready-made corner turns which are sold separately to the tape roll.
Workers need to know what safety tape means and how to apply it. Once the tape has been installed, it’s a good idea to take employees round, pointing out how hazards and other locations are marked.
Obviously, a tape warning of hazard isn’t enough in many cases. Physical barriers to danger should be used where that is practicable. However, with proper staff training, safety tape can be an additional useful and modestly priced tool.