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   Products > ... July 2011 RustOleum > Color Selection Tips

 Tips for Color Selection

Color is a hidden factor that can affect an employee’s ability to perform his or her job. Color can be used to improve facility safety and visibility and improve productivity. Industrial coatings are primarily used to protect substrates from corrosion, chemicals, and wear and tear. But coatings can also be used to enhance the safety and appearance of facilities. Here are some useful ways color can be used to benefit your facility.

Safety Color Coding

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that industrial facilities color code safety equipment and hazardous areas with specific colors. Many times, accident rates in industrial facilities can be lowered simply by identifying danger areas. This standardized color marking system can ensure that workers are prepared for an emergency by being able to quickly identify all hazards and safety devices in an industrial plant. You can easily use the below safety color coding guide to increase visibility in your facility. Safety colors by Rust-Oleum® are offered in both aerosols for touch-up use and gallons for larger projects.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) also designates colors for identifying piping systems. ANSI established a uniform system for piping identification to warn workers when piping contents are hazardous. The below piping identification color guide can be used in your facility to promote safety awareness and improve response in times of emergency.

Emergency Evacuation

Photoluminescent coatings can be used to mark exit paths and obstacles to aid in emergency evacuations during power failures or low-level lighting situations. In comparison to photoluminescent tapes, photoluminescent coatings are easier to apply, more durable, and easier to clean and maintain.

Rust-Oleum® offers a photoluminescent coating system, GlowMax™, which is available in gallons and aerosols to provide safety illumination. GlowMax is also available in safety yellow, allowing you to mark hazards during lighted and unlighted periods. Planning for disasters now could save time, money and lives in the future.

Increased Productivity

The wrong color combination can create psychological and physical conditions that may lead to fatigue, low morale and ultimately poor productivity. Color selection must be such that the eyes don’t have to make rapid adjustments every time an employee looks up from his or her work resulting in eye strain and fatigue. On the other hand, surroundings that are all the same color provide no visual relief. This monotony of color can also cause eye strain or low morale. No single guaranteed color plan exists that can be applied to all plants or facilities. Color requirements vary depending on such factors as size of facility, type of illumination and the type of product manufactured. These suggestions give general considerations that should be followed when developing a color scheme when it is time to paint or repaint.


Summer is an ideal times to paint or repaint problem or neglected areas. By incorporating color into your paint selection strategy, you can increase employee productivity and safety while also protecting your valuable assets. Additional information is available by contacting Applied Industrial Technologies at 1-877-279-2799 or calling your local service center directly, or browsing our wide selection of paints and coatings on Applied.com.


Reprinted with permission from Rust-Oleum®.


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