Safety Color Code and Signs


All maintenance shops and work areas should be marked with the correct colors to identify hazards, exits, safe walkways, and first-aid stations. It is acceptable to use material other than paint, such as decals and tapes, in the appropriate, similar colors. Listed below are the main colors authorized for use in maintenance shops.

Red color markings should be used to identify the following equipment or locations:

  • Fire alarm boxes (pull boxes).

  • Fire blanket boxes.

  • Fire extinguishing containers.

  • Fire extinguishers, unless painting is unnecessary. For large areas and when the extinguisher is not readily visible to the area occupants, use red on the housing wall or support above the extinguisher to show its location.

  • Fire hose locations.

  • Fire pumps.

  • Fire sirens.

  • Sprinkler piping.

  • Fire buckets.

  • Fire reporting telephone stations.

  • Store all idle tools in a safe, dry place.

  • Provide visitors to the work area required personnel protection equipment.

  • An exception may be made to comply with local laws or when current facilities provide green exit signs.

  • Emergency stop buttons for electrical machinery.

  • Emergency stop bars on hazardous machines.

  • Yellow color markings should be used to identify the following equipment or locations:

  • Industrial areas where particular caution is needed, such as handrails, guardrails, bottom edge of overhead doors, or top and bottom treads of stairways.

  • Fire hydrant barrels.

  • Caution signs.

  • Piping systems containing flammable material.

  • Waste containers for highly combustible material.

  • A hazardous area or a safe aisle within a hazardous area.

  • Lower pulley blocks and cranes.

  • Coverings and guards for guy wires.

  • Pillars, posts, or columns that are physical or shop hazards.

  • Fixtures suspended from ceilings or walls that extend into normal operating areas.

  • Corner markings for storage piles.

  • Exposed and unguarded edges of platforms, pits, and wells.

Green color markings normally on a white color background should be used for the following equipment or locations:

  • First-aid equipment.

  • First-aid dispensaries.

  • Stretchers.

  • Safety starting buttons on machinery.

  • Safety instruction signs.

    Black and white are the basic colors for designating housekeeping and interior traffic markings. The following areexamples of where solid white, solid black, single-colorstriping, alternate stripes of black and white, or black and white squares will be used.

  • Locations and width of aisles in nonhazardous areas.

  • Dead ends of aisles or passageways.

  • Directional signs.

  • Locations of refuse cans.

  • White corners of rooms or passageways.

  • Clear floor area around first-aid, fire-fighting, and their emergency equipment.

Blue color markings are used on the outside of switch boxes electrical controls that are the starting point or power source for hazardous electrical machinery or equipment.

Orange markings are used to designate dangerous parts of machines or energized equipment, including electrical conduits, which may cut, crush, shock, or injure.


Signs are placed in categories according to their purpose. Use the examples in the following paragraphs as guides when choosing the correct sign design to display a message. In overseas commands, the use of International Standard Safety Signs is encouraged and authorized.


Ensure that the wording of any sign

  • Is concise and easy to read.

  • Contains enough information to be easily understood.

  • Is designed for the message to be carried in a picture when appropriate.

  • Is a positive rather than a negative statement when appropriate.

  • Is bilingual with the second language common to the local personnel when appropriate.


Signs should be inspected regularly and maintained in good condition. They should be kept clean, well illuminated, and legible. Replace or repair damaged or broken signs. All signs will be designed with rounded or blunt corners and with no sharp projections. Put the ends or heads of bolts or other fastening devices where they will not cause a hazard.


When choosing a sign, consider dimensions that will permit economical use of standard size material. Base the size of the sign on the following:

  • Location at which the sign will be placed.

  • Character of the hazard involved.

  • Purpose of the sign.

  • Distance from which the sign should be legible.


All signs require a predominant color based on the sign’s purpose. Below are the five types of signs and their predominant color.

  • Danger signs: RED.

  • Caution signs: YELLOW.

  • Safety instruction signs: GREEN.

  • Directional signs: BLACK.

  • Informational signs: A variety of colors may be used, except for red, yellow, or magenta (purple).


Danger signs should only be used when immediate hazard exists. There will be no variations in the type or design of signs posted to warn of specific danger. All personnel will be instructed that danger signs indicate immediate danger and that special precautions are necessary.


Caution signs should be used only to warn against potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices. All personnel will be instructed that a caution sign indicates a possible hazard against which proper precautions will be taken.


Directional signs should be used in sufficient numbers to indicate the way to stairways, fire escapes, exits, and other locations. Many other safety media are available for use in military maintenance shops.

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