Key Signs your Floor Marking Needs Help [Webinar]

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What do we do when our floor marking needs help? Watch this webinar to find out!

In our recent State of 5S Report, it was revealed that floor marking is being broadly used for a variety of purposes; from marketing storage and equipment areas to safety purposes.  What we didn’t cover in that session was how to ensure that the floor marking you’re doing is effective and up to snuff.  

Watch David Visco, author of 5S Made Easy and founder of The 5S Store as he discusses how to identify problems with floor tape and what 5S practitioners can learn to improve their own 5S implementations.

In this floor marking webinar, you will learn:

  • How to know when it’s time to change floor marking,
  • The right floor marking for the right application,
  • Common mistakes people make with floor marking.

Transcripts from the Floor Marking Help Webinar

To download a PDF of the transcripts click here.

Maribeth:

Hello and welcome. Thank you for joining us for today’s webinar, Key Signs Your Floor Marking Needs Help. Before we get started, we have a few housekeeping items. The hashtag for the webinar is #floormarking. Feel free to post any insights using this hashtag on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, and be sure to tag us. You may ask questions via the chat or the Q&A capability any time during the presentation. We’ll attempt to answer all your questions at the end of the presentation. But if your question isn’t answered today, someone will follow up with a response after the webinar. Today’s session is being recorded, and it will be sent to you following the presentation, for your own purposes or to share with others.

Maribeth:

Now I’d like to introduce our speaker and our special guest today. David Visco is a 5S expert. Beginning in 1985, David launched his career as a warehouse control manager, running a distribution center that managed inventory of over $500 million in value. As he furthered his career, he gained extensive experience across warehouse, production planning, logistics, and materials management. Using 5S in the workplace, he saw a unique opportunity and need for 5S resource. And in 2006, he founded the 5S Store. The first online store dedicated entirely to 5S. The 5S Store provides a massive range of 5S products, free best practices content, and coaching services to thousands of clients.

Maribeth:

In 2015, David’s first book 5S Made Easy, was published. Today, in addition to his role at the 5S Store, he frequently speaks publicly on the topic of 5S best practices. We are also joined today by Jay Forget. Jay is an expert in approaches to safety from his work at SafetyCal, a compliance science company. And since floor marking is often used to help with workplace safety, he’s here today to share some of his perspectives. We’re glad to have you join as a friend of the 5S Store, Jay. From here, I’ll hand it over to David to get us started straight away, David.

David:

Thanks, Maribeth. Thanks for helping us out today, Jay, and thanks for coming everybody. Yeah. So, when it comes to floor markings, it’s one of the top issues that everybody talks to me about, either at trade shows, our clients, or what have you. So, we wanted to help you out today, any way that we can regarding your floor tape. So right off the bat, which of the 5S phases is most used for floor tape? And that would be standardize, right? Because truth be told, that’s where most of the products from our website and what we offer clients comes from. It helps people set in order, whether it be floor tape under fire extinguishers, around pallet jacks, or you name it, or safety signs, floor markings is just huge and it’s a big part of set in order.

Maribeth:

And that brings us to our first key sign. The first key sign that your floor marking needs help, that we’re going to discuss today, is your floor tape isn’t sticking. This is a common problem we hear about at the 5S Store. So, I’ll turn it back to David for some helpful tips.

David:

Thanks. Yeah. Getting tape to stick, I hear that often. And what we’ve found is a lot of times people aren’t installing their tape properly or they have the wrong tape for their particular area. So, what you have to do right off the bat is choose the right tape. And we’ll show you a tape selection matrix here in a minute, that’ll help you with that. Or you can always call us at the 5S Store, we can help you too. But you need to choose the right tape, which means either getting a porous floor tape or a smooth floor tape, not all tapes are the same. The adhesives aren’t the same and the durability aren’t the same.

David:

So, once you’ve picked the right floor tape, you obviously have to wash the floor and dry it, right? But something a lot of people don’t realize is they take their tape, peel off the backing, and press it with maybe their foot or their hand. The problem with that, is that it’s pressure sensitive adhesive that needs to be firmly pressed into the ground for it to stick properly. A lot of folks don’t know that. So, we try and educate people as much as possible on that step. So, you want to go over that tape in the direction that you laid it down with a heavy weight, even the rear wheel of a forklift will work great, if you don’t have a landscape roller or what have you. Tamping tape is a big key.

David:

And right here, we show you the tape selection matrix. So we have a bunch of tapes at the 5S Store and we’ve, over 15 years, have become experts in 5S floor tape. We know which ones work and which ones don’t. So, you don’t have to go searching the internet. That’s what we’re here for. So, this tape selection matrix helps you figure out which tape you need, depending on what kind of floors you have. You can get this on our 5S Blackboard site and download it and use it to your on discretion.

Maribeth:

The second key sign that your floor marking needs help that we’ll talk about today is, people aren’t following the floor markings. This can be frustrating for people who spend so much time planning out the floor markings and putting it in place. So here are some helpful tips. David.

David:

Yeah. So, check this one out here. This is certainly an issue. It was interesting, I took the picture on the left myself and right when COVID hit, I went to Walgreens and there was this crazy markings on the floor on the left there, with blue painter’s tape. And I had a guy right behind me, standing there and somebody standing in the area where all those squigglies are. So I’m like, “What are you doing?” And it occurred to me that wow, these floor signs are not very clear. People had no idea what to do. And even though it was in a retail establishment, still the same lesson, right? Clarity is really important. So on the right side, you can see over time, these floor signs started popping up everywhere and you started seeing them in retail establishments and whatnot.

David:

On the right, people are very clear now that this is where you got to stand because it’s six feet apart and everybody knows six feet is the safe distance. So, when you’re laying floor tape in your facility or whatnot, make sure it’s crystal clear as to what the expectation is for the behavior that you want people to follow. And if you need to overdo it by putting more floor signs or more tape down or whatever, to make sure people follow the expectation, feel free to do that.

David:

Then on this slide here, we talk about standards. So, a number of places I’ve been into, walk right on the floor and they’ve got various colors of floor tape down. And I ask them, “Do you guys have color standards? Do people know what that…” Actually, this client I went into, had purple tape on the floor. I was like, “Do they know why? What purple is supposed to signify?” And the gentleman said, “No, we just use whatever tape we happen to have handy.” That obviously leaves a huge opportunity for improving the messaging there. What you want to do is make sure that you come up with some kind of standard for what the colors mean for the floor tape. A lot of people use yellow. It’s the most popular tape. A lot of folks will use that for aisles or traffics or even finished goods.

David:

And we have an example here of a system of color guidelines that I’ve used for well over a decade now. You can make your own. People ask me all the time, “David, is there one particular color standard out there for 5S?” And the answer is, “No. There isn’t.” So, you can make it to just suit whatever you need, whatever works for you guys. And this can also be downloaded on our Blackboard site, if you wish.

David:

And there are many options available as far as materials and different kind of floor tapes, like I had mentioned earlier. And you also need tools to be able to remove floor tape, if need be. But along that way, you want to set up standards for what tapes you’re using. My suggestion would be to set those up on a Kanban, so you just have a very simple rack with various floor tapes, red tags, anything that you need for your 5S program, but particularly in floor tape. And make sure that everybody knows, these are the type of floor tapes that you’re going to use throughout the facility.

David:

Some need to be more heavy-duty than others. So, you could use a cheap $6 vinyl tape for areas where you’re just testing out the set in order, at the moment. And then once you nail that down, you could go to the heavier duty tapes that aren’t going to be removed, that are going to stay put. But you want to make sure you set up a list, so everybody in the company knows which tapes that are going to get used. And if you set it up on a Kanban, you’ll make sure you never run out. Right? Because that’s what Kanbans are for. Yeah. So, with that, I’m curious, Jay, what other floor marking solutions have you seen be effective?

Jay Forget:

Well, thanks David. To amp up the safety factor, for some applications, a different solution makes better sense. I really like the LED projectors because they’re nearly impossible to ignore. I personally walk by one every day, when I walk through our facility and every day it grabs my attention, to remind me to watch out for forklift traffic. So, I most definitely recommend those to our clients where incidents are near misses and a continuous challenge. And rather than a stagnant floor sign, these light projectors can be set to display their message in motion, to improve visibility, thus improving safety. The nice thing is, you can buy one and switch out the messages they project, making them a cost effective investment.

David:

Yeah, those have been great. The demand for these have gone way up because people really like the simplicity of them and the safety aspect.

Jay Forget:

And David, when it comes to ensuring markers are followed, there are other methods to help reinforce your floor marking as well. There are countless types of floor signs preprinted with messages like this one here, watch your step sign, that are available and clearly convey instructions. One that’s overlooked a lot, are the mats. Yeah, they’re a great way to reinforce your safety instructions while also keeping the floors clean. I like them because they’re super durable. And cones, cones are a three-dimensional way to get attention and they come pre-printed with dozens of safety messages already on them. And then, there’s the stanchions and chains that physically prevent passage, making it nearly impossible for people to not follow instructions.

David:

Yeah. That’s super.

Maribeth:

The third and final key sign that your floor marking needs help that we’ll talk about today is, you’ve had incidents. Big or small, nobody wants to see an accident happen, despite the use of floor marking. So, David, let’s begin with talking about OSHA.

David:

OSHA, good old OSHA. They actually don’t have any floor marking guidelines, as far as the colors go. You may see some listings of OSHA colors that they suggest, but they don’t have anything that’s very strict whereas it would be a finding if they came into your building. And I had always thought there was, but I researched and discovered there weren’t, which is kind of cool because you don’t need OSHA giving you trouble about what color your floor tapes are. But they do require, and this is incredibly important, to make sure that you have a three foot of space around electrical panels, like the one on the picture here. And that’s where 5S can really help out because you could set up standards for what tapes you’re going to use for those areas. You could set up standards for what images you might use, et cetera.

David:

There’s all sorts of ways that you can handle that. But keeping that distance either around electrical panels or three feet aisles, is huge. In my day, when I was running warehouses or whatnot, when I took over one particular warehouse, I didn’t even realize there was an electrical panel there. It was buried behind pallets of goods. I’ll never forget that, I was like, “Guys, that’s not cool. That’s really not a good idea.” So, you can even capture this during your audits and whatnot. I see stuff blocking electrical panels all the time, every time I’m at a site. So, it’s something to really keep an eye open for and you can just use safety tape, et cetera, for them.

David:

There’s another example here for improving safety with floor marking. These door swing signs that you see on the right are hugely popular. It’s a very simple idea and solution, but they’re extra durable and they lay down easy. And I don’t know, if you’ve ever seen anybody get hit with a door in an aisle. There was one client that I worked at years ago, where there was this one big, massive aisle and the doors all opened into the aisle. So as people walking by, they were literally just walking into the doors when people opened them up. We put these in place and it was really great. And then, the fire extinguisher sign you see there. So, we have multiple kits depending on what type of safety incident you’re trying to avoid. We have an eyeglass station and a shower one, and electrical panel. So, those really come in handy when you’re trying to improve safety with floor marking.

David:

And this has always been one of my most favorite pictures. I think we’ve had this for over 10 years and it might be [inaudible 00:15:05] on one extent, that there’s signs all over the place here, but it’s more just to show ideas and to keep in mind that intersections in a warehouse or in a manufacturing floor, can be highly dangerous. And people aren’t always paying attention, so having various floor signs like this, or even the LED one we showed you earlier, can really help improve safety.

David:

Something else, there was a client here actually in Devens in Massachusetts, where they were making solar panels and they would get in multiple pallets a day. I think it was two or three trailers a day of glass for the panels. And we didn’t have a really good way of organizing them. So, the guys came up with this and laid it out nice and neat. And although it’s not in the picture, there’s a nice sign there that says, “Incoming glass,” hanging from the ceiling and very simple floor markings to help keep that in order.

David:

Then one idea that you might want to consider and it doesn’t have to be at the beginning of the year, it can be whenever you have time, is to do a floor marking blitz, and go through and remove all your old worn tape. We have floor scrapers for that, that work really well. Funny story I’ll share with that though. I was at one client and they had laid down some tape that we had suggested they use and whatever. And I was there checking things out and we’d given them a floor scraper, one of the heavy duty ones. And they were using it on their old vinyl tape because a lot of people use vinyl, but vinyl tape is so painful to remove. So, the best way to do it is with a heavy-duty floor scraper.

David:

And they were using the scraper. However, it wasn’t working. Now, we took a look at it and I tried using it too and I’m like, “What the heck is going on?” It turned out there was actually, on the blade, there was a protector piece over that. So, we were trying to remove the tape with the damn blade covered. It was so funny. Once you have the blade exposed, those floor scrapers work extremely well for removing 5S of yesterday, which I see on floors all the time, and it’s really too bad. So, if you’re going to start a new floor tape campaign, you want to remove everything that you can. And then, when you’re laying down the new tape, you want to follow your tape guidelines and whatnot that we discussed earlier and make sure the standards are in place.

David:

And really, the 5S team, if you have a team, you do have a team, right? If you have a team, those folks should work with facilities and whatnot, to figure out what tapes are best for that plant. You can certainly take a look back at our tape selection guide, but make sure everybody’s on the same page with what tapes you’re picking. Because some of those tapes are rather pricey, you don’t want to buy something then have to deal with returning it because there’s some reason why you shouldn’t be using it. So, make sure everybody’s on the same page. And if you have any questions, of course, you could call us. So yes, you want to create the standardized materials sheet I talked about, and the Kanban, and get that all going. And then, make sure to communicate to everybody, if you make changes to this, make sure everybody knows what the new standards are. Jay, what are your thoughts?

Jay Forget:

Well, thanks David. I always say if you had an incident, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a slip and fall situation. I mean, slips are a loss of balance caused by too little friction between your feet and the surface you walk or work on. Loss of traction is the leading cause of workplace slips. And it’s always good to remember that slips can be caused by wet surfaces, spills, weather hazards like ice or snow. And they’re more likely to occur when people are in a hurry, running, wearing the wrong kind of shoes or don’t pay attention to where you’re walking. I mean, we’ve all seen this happen. But there are some things that you can do to help prevent slipping and on the screen are a couple of my favorites. Basically, what you see here are anti-slip strips that make strips and stairways safer, reducing the risk of slip and fall accidents in your workplace.

Jay Forget:

Most of them come as self-adhesive strips. They just adhere to any clean, dry surface, including metal, wood, and concrete. The surface is aluminum oxide grit, bonded to a vinyl substrate, making them gritty and increasing friction to reduce the slipping. They’re super easy to apply. Just peel and stick. As you can see, there are ones that are printed with messages and colors as well. They’re indoor or outdoor. So, you can put them pretty much anywhere that people could slip, and they come in sizes that fit on a standard size stair tread, meaning you can place them on stairs as well. So, these are definitely recommended if you have some staircases in or outdoors.

David:

Yep. I’ve seen them used a lot these days. They’re fantastic.

Jay Forget:

Lastly, we can’t forget about this area here, David. I mean, this is the low lit areas. Because low-light situations can lessen the effect of floor tape, there is reflective colored safety tape that helps to identify hazards or mark vehicles, so they’re visible in low light. It’s available in solid or striped designs and colors. These rolls of reflective tape include pressure sensitive adhesive with a liner, just peel and stick. This type of tape is commonly used to identify safety hazards as well as vehicles and traffic applications and can be used inside or outside. If you have holes, walls, fences, or inventory and low light conditions.

Jay Forget:

It’s definitely a good idea to play some reflective tape at headlight level. This reflected light will grab a drivers’ attention and help prevent damage from forklifts or vehicles. Then there’s the motion-activated flasher, which I know is another great one, David, I know is one of your favorites. It’s basically a flashing safety sign. That’s programmed to flash when pedestrians or forklifts are entering the area which triggers the motion sensor. The images can be customized to match your exact safety situation, which means you can always get what you need. Well, Maribeth, David, as you can tell, there are a lot of ways beyond floor marking, to help keep a safe work environment.

David:

No doubt there are.

Maribeth:

Thanks Jay, for that added insight. And thank you to our viewers for submitting so many great questions. Those of you who have outstanding questions, now’s the time to get them in using the Q&A function that is at the bottom of your screen. If you don’t see Q&A right there, just click the three buttons that say, “More,” under it, and you can type in your question there. We’re going to work to get through all of those today. So, let’s get started with our first question. So this one is probably good for David, I’m thinking. And so, our participant sent, “I know sometimes floor tape wears out. What are some of the ways that can be prevented, or things you can do to extend the life of the tape that you have in place?

David:

That’s a great question. So first of all, like I mentioned earlier, you want to make sure you have the right tape in the right place. But even if you have the right tape in the right place, sometimes what happens is warehouse workers will drag pallets. And when you drag pallets, you tend to tear up floor tape. So it’s actually an OSHA guideline whereby they shouldn’t be dragging pallets. They should have pallets picked up, I think it’s a quarter of an inch or up to two inches. I don’t remember the exact guideline, but you should not be dragging pallets. When people do that, they tear up even the best of floor tapes, even if it’s laid down properly.

David:

Yeah. So, you want to make sure that you’ve got the right tape and in the right spot, and that should work just fine for you over time, but make sure you train people properly on what tape to use. Something else that you can do is, on our lower profile tapes, that aren’t as thick as the heavy duties. One thing I suggest people do is, let’s say they’re using two inch width on their solid stripe tape, and it’s getting banged up once in a while for various reasons. Well, you could put a clear three inch wide overlay, over that tape. So, you could buy a three inch width roll of clear, and a two-inch width of the colored tape and you put the clear over the solid tape. And that helps really keep it clean and helps to keep it longer lasting

Maribeth:

Great tips, David. Thanks. So our next question, Jay, I think this one’s for you. So, I have somebody here asking about that flashing light sign. And the question is, “How far away does the motion need to be for that sign to begin flashing?”

Jay Forget:

Thanks, Maribeth. That’s a great question. And when we do hear that often, that same question. The flashing signs actually have an infrared motion detector that detects motion up to 18 feet away. And it comes with a controller, so you can set the flashing to your liking or dynamic flashing. And another key benefit to this solution is that it’s simple to set up and it has the flexibility to be moved around easily. So, if layouts or intersections change over time, it’s an ideal solution.

Maribeth:

Great. Thank you, Jay. Our next question is back to the 5S topic. So David, this one’s for you. “Is there a particular person on the 5S team that should be taking care of the floor markings?”

David:

That’s an interesting question actually, because really nobody on the team should be doing the floor marking, although I’m not sure if that’s what the question referred to, either doing it or just managing the inventory for it. So, I’ll attack both of those. As most lean practitioners know these days, that when you’re implementing lean, including 5S as a part of that, you’re never supposed to do a [inaudible 00:25:51]. So, in other words, the managers or people on a team aren’t necessarily supposed to lay down the tape, organize the area, cut out the tool foam. That should all be done by people in the area. So make sure, especially with floor tape, and I’ve seen this done wrong so many times, where facility managers or facility staff or even engineers or the 5S team, will lay out a whole area of floor tape and they’ll get down on their hands knees and lay the tape out, and they’ll do all the hard work.

David:

The problem is when you go to sustain that type of thing, if the people in the area who are responsible for everything that goes on in that area, if they weren’t part of the taping and getting down on their hands and knees and really installing it, they’re not going to sustain it when they maybe tear it up because of a dragged pallet or something, or they notice some tape needs to be replaced. They’re not going to care. They really won’t because they’re not vested in it. So, as far as floor tape goes, make sure that the right people are doing the installation. As far as managing inventory levels and making sure that the right tapes are being used, the 5S team along with the facility group should handle that.

Maribeth:

Great advice. Here’s another 5S-oriented question. So this one is in reference to 5S audits. And so, the question is actually a couple parts, first, “Do you recommend including a review of floor marking as part of a 5S audit and how often should you do it and what are the best practices?”

David:

That’s a good question. They should certainly be part of your set in order phase of your 5S audits, as should the color coding for the standardize part of your audit. So, you want to make sure that people are following the right standards of the color floor markings, assuming you have those in place. Yeah. And who should be doing it? Well, I generally suggest that the 5S team will go out and do an audit or somebody within that team. And they’ll always go around with people in the department. The worst thing you want to ever see done is just an auditor come in, audit the area, turn around and leave. That’s not what it’s about. The audit’s all about communication and making sure that everybody’s on the same page with what the standards are and what’s expected and people give ideas and whatnot. It isn’t supposed to be a quick pass through, by any extent.

Maribeth:

And a last minute question here and I think both of you are well-equipped to answer this one. So, “How often do you see people using floor signs and floor tape together as a solution?”

David:

I can tell you from my perspective. Yeah, thanks Jay. All the time. And they’re not only using floor tape, they’re also using pallet corner markers, in T markers and Xs to mark off where a bunch of pallets might be lined up. But rarely do I see a place that has floor tape, not have floor signs. A lot of people using floor signs as well. The most popular are the trash can sign or the, be aware of a forklift sign. So, that’s what I’ve seen. How about you, Jay, any input there?

Jay Forget:

Well, I couldn’t agree more. I mean, usually when someone is looking to stock up on their floor marking tape, they’re absolutely including floor signs. Whether it’s the anti-slip grips or on-the-wall signs or floor signs, but it’s definitely the signage and the tape together. Yeah, absolutely.

Maribeth:

Great. Thanks, guys. Thank you to our audience for the thoughtful questions. And now I have a special offer to share with you. First of all, on screen, here are a variety of free resources that you can use to help with 5S. So, there is David’s book 5S Made Easy, our website at the5sstore.com, called Blackboard. It’s under learn on the main navigation. Has a bunch of free online 5S best practices stuff, including that taping guide that we talked about earlier.

Maribeth:

On the screen is David’s contact information and you can feel free to reach out to him with any questions you might have at any time. And of course, the 5S store’s URL is the5sstore.com. On the right-hand side, you’ll see all of our social channels. Please give us a follow. We share great advice all of the time. And for attending today’s webinar, David is offering 10% off any in-stock, aisle and floor marking supplies during the month of June. Simply enter the code JuneMarking10, you see it on the bottom of the screen there, during checkout, to take advantage of this special discount. Thank you so much for joining.

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