Understanding color codings in business is important for safety, disaster preparedness, and adherence to safety agency guidelines. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) have standards for safety color codings for industrial environments. This guide to industrial color-coding explains what each color means and where to use it.

Purpose and Benefits of Industrial Business Color Codings

Color coding in industrial settings is used as an essential safety measure. Different risks, dangers and safety hazards are assigned a certain color. Colors are better than verbiage because colors are universal and easier to identify from a distance. Workers immediately recognize colors and their meaning concerning different safety hazards. You can implement these colors anywhere you think is necessary for your facility.


The benefits of safety color codings include:

  • Increase your employees’ productivity and safety by reducing the likelihood of accidents and errors.
  • Standardize visual communication to eliminate speculation.
  • Protect your assets from environmental factors.
  • Simplify tasks.
  • Enhance your facility’s appearance.
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Color Meanings in Industrial Settings

Here is a list of the colors used in industrial settings and what they represent:

  • Red: Identifies fire protection equipment and hazardous areas.
  • Orange: Identifies dangerous machine and equipment parts.
  • Yellow: Identifies physical hazards and materials that are potentially hazardous to life and property.
  • Green: Identifies first aid equipment, materials, and areas that are nonhazardous to life and property.
  • Blue: Identifies safety information on bulletin boards and signs.
  • Purple: Identifies radiation hazards.
  • Black and white: Identifies trafficked areas.

OSHA has two categories of safety color codings — physical hazards and accident prevention. Physical hazard colors provide immediate identification of protection equipment, physical risks and power buttons and switches. Accident prevention colors are used for safety signs and tags to indicate dangerous substances and incidents. Red is used for the most dangerous risks, and yellow is used when caution should be exercised.

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Water lines, wastewater lines, chemical lines, and other lines all have color standards to show what the pipes are used for. Pipes also have flow arrows on the sections that pass through a wall.


Contact HunterLab Today

HunterLab has been the thought leader in color measurement technology for more than 65 years. We are ready to work with your business for your color consistency needs. Contact HunterLab online for more information about industrial business color codings. Read our blog for posts about color meanings and more.