When should barricade tape be used in the workplace?

Q:

What kind of situations call for barricade tape? When should we use it instead of warning signs?

A:

Safety professionals use tapes like these as temporary, immediate, portable, and easily installed barricades.

The intended use of this important safety product is straightforward: the creation of a perimeter guard or barrier around an identified hazardous area. ANSI Standard Z535.5-2011 (R2017) provides the detailed information and standards regarding this subject.

When to Use Barricade Tape

Barricade tape should be used in IDLH (immediately dangerous to life and health) situations when we have an identified hazard or a potentially hazardous situation that requires an immediate barrier around it. It is primarily used to identify the perimeter for workers, responders, and the general public. It is also used to prevent or control access to emergency sites and to assist in the control of traffic and pedestrian flow. They are also commonly used for crowd control, or to identify areas that the public cannot access on company property.

Barricade tape should only be used as a temporary measure. They are used most often by first responders in advance of the application of more permanent physical barriers.

Types of Barricade Tape

There are many types of barricade tape on the market and they are labelled for different purposes. These labeled tapes provide additional information for those at the worksite, including the public. They are often color-coded to add additional visual reference to printed information.

Yellow tape with black crosshatchings and words such as "CAUTION - DO NOT ENTER" and "WARNING" or "POLICE LINE- DO NOT CROSS" are examples of barricade tapes we've all seen and understood. Another is a bright red tape with "DANGER" printed on it. The tapes are often available with reflective coatings to increase visibility.

The real beauty of the tapes is that they are portable and must be a part of any organization’s emergency response tools. Every safety professional who responds to incidents should have a couple of rolls in their go bag.

If you want to learn more about barricade tapes, I recommend consulting OSHA's 29 CFR Part 1926, which provides a great deal of information about this product.

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Written by Henry Skjerven
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Mr. Skjerven has consulted professionally for over 27 years, with extensive Canadian experience, literally from coast to coast but with a home base in Western Canada. His experience ranges from marketing, adult education, and heavy transportation (rail) to municipal public works, fleet and transportation, oil and gas construction in the tar sands, emergency response (Fire and Ambulance), Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Security, as well as human resources and software systems, including enterprise style projects.

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