Sending everyone on a worksite home in the same condition they arrived should be the top priority of every employer and worker. Since it was established in 1971, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been working hard to improve worksite safety standards, including mandating a specific safety color code used to mark physical hazards.

At Premium Staffing, Inc. — one of the leading Chicago temp agencies — we can’t emphasize enough the importance of adhering to OSHA standards. Marking physical hazards according to the designated safety color code makes it easier to spot potentially life-saving things like emergency stop bars and spots with a risk of tripping.

Since this topic is so important, here’s a brush up of which colors should be used to mark certain hazards.


OSHA has designated red the basic safety color for:

  • Fire protection equipment and apparatus.
  • Danger.
  • Specifically, items of a dangerous nature are identified as safety cans or other transportable containers of flammable liquids with a flash point of 80 degrees Fahrenheit or below and table containers of flammable liquids — i.e., open cup testers. With the exception of shipping containers, these dangerous vessels must be painted red. They must also have a clear yellow band around the can or the name of the contents have to be clearly stenciled or painted on the can in yellow. Barricades and temporary obstructions should be marked with red lights. All danger signs must be painted red.
  • Stop.
    All emergency stop bars on hazardous machinery — i.e., rubber mills, wire blocks, flat work ironers — should be red. Additionally, stop buttons and electrical switches used for emergency stops containing other letters or markings must be red.


Yellow is the basic safety color for:

  • Designating caution.
  • Marking physical hazards. This includes striking against, falling, tripping and caught in between.

At Premium Staffing, Inc., we firmly believe there’s nothing more important than staying safe on the job. We take pride in working with employers and professionals that value OSHA standards. If you’re looking for a high-level engineering or manufacturing position or searching for talent to fill a role on your team, contact us today to find your fit!

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