Why use Colour Coding in a workplace?

Used as an effective and quick means of identification, we already experience colour coding in many everyday situations, perhaps without realising it.  Traffic lights are one obvious thing, but take a look around and you’ll see all number of colour coding controls implemented to make things clearer or more obvious to us. 

Now imagine a world without colour where our environment becomes transparent and we lose the ability to emphasise importance or danger.  Humans are creatures drawn to colours; it is how we process the world around us.  To remove them leaves us in a world fraught with danger, so why not take this and apply it to our work environments too?

What is colour coding for?

The purpose of colour coding is to communicate without speaking.  Communication is simplified and becomes universally understood with the right application of colour.  Where verbal or written communication can often leave room for ambiguity or misinterpretation, with colour coding it’s, well, a lot more black and white.

Colour-coding is a fairly universal language. But also, the positive impact that this can have on employees is a big benefit. If employees are more comfortable in their surroundings and they know exactly where to go for tools or equipment, it’s more empowering and can result in improved productivity. 

Where colour coding is used

Quite simply, colour coding is used in most places.  Construction, healthcare, cleaning, electrical engineering and all sorts of different applications already have their own colour coding standards.  

Colour is simple, but it will make your workspace a lot more organised. A well thought out colour coding system empowers individuals in decision making processes, as well as helping to promote a culture of care and ownership.  So if your business or industry doesn’t already have it’s own colour coding standards, here’s how it could work for you.

Returning kit to the right place

Some workspaces may allocate certain colours to particular areas e.g. a broom with a red handle could be allocated to the workshop, and the yellow-handled broom belongs to the office. This method is proven to help keep the right tools in the right places.  Essentially providing traceability and indicating ownership.

Colour coding for certain conditions

We sometimes attribute certain colours to specific situations. For example, GREEN may make you think of the environment, or the outdoors.  BLUE may be more associated with food processing.  RED in many societies denotes danger so may be applied to areas of more hazard or risk.  This kind of coding therefore highlights and prevents any sort of misuse of equipment for the wrong applications.

Methods of colour coding

This is where it gets fun.  And it can be really inexpensive too.  You don’t necessarily have to go out and buy one of each item in each different colour variant (unless of course you want to, or your industry standards dictate).  There are many more straightforward methods of colour coding your tools and equipment – for example using paint penstape or cable ties.  And for the demarcation of the corresponding areas you can then use things like floor tape as a cheap and simple means of identifying what goes where.

For more specialist applications you can use items like coloured tool control foamwasherstorque seal markers and any number of different products and methods to colour code your equipment.

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