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Ohio State University Extension


Color Coding

Agricultural Tailgate Safety Training for Operators and Supervisors
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: To understand and develop a color coding system for farm and workplace hazards.

Trainer’s Note

A consistent color system, denoting color-hazard relationship alerts employees to safety hazards. Knowing the system increases employee safety. Tour the operation, pointing out the different examples of color coding used and the hazards identified. ALL EMPLOYEES should be familiar with the color coding system. Reassigned workers should learn the color codes in their new area. Review the true or false quiz.


Below is the recommended guide for a color coding system. Post a copy of the color coding system in an easy-to-find spot for quick reference. Use clearly printed labels with colors. Signs, tags, and tickets should follow the same basic colors.

The Standard Color-Code System

Red Danger Safety cans and signs.
Stop Emergency stop bar or button on machinery. Identification of fire equipment.
Fluorescent Orange, Orange-Red Biosafety Labels and containers for blood and infectious waste. (Warning labels must be fluorescent orange or orange-red with the biosafety symbol in a contrasting color.)
Yellow Caution Tripping, falling, and striking hazards. “Flammable, Keep Fire Away” labels on cabinets. Safety cans and containers for explosives, corrosives, or unstable materials.
Orange Warning Parts of machinery or energized equipment that may cut, crush, or otherwise injure. Inside of transmission guards for pulleys, gears, etc.
Green Safety Location of first aid equipment. Location of safety equipment, respirators, safety showers, etc.
Blue Information Signs and bulletin boards. Specific railroad warnings against starting, using, or moving equipment being repaired.
Black, White, Yellow or Combination of Black with White or Yellow Boundaries Traffic or housekeeping markings. Stairways, directions, and borders.
Magenta or Purple on Yellow Radiation Caution X-ray, alpha, beta, gamma, neutron and proton radiation.

Table courtesy of Grainger.

Review the Following Points

  • All employees should be familiar with the color coding plan used on the farm or in the workplace.
  • Post a copy of the color coding system where all employees can see it.
  • It is important to follow a color coding system to identify hazards.

About These Modules

The Ag Tailgate Training Series was developed by members of the Agricultural Safety and Health Program in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Revised by Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety Leader, with editing assistance by Lisa Pfeifer and Cody McClain.

True or False Answer Key

  1. T
  2. T
  3. F
  4. T
  5. T



Quiz: Color Coding



True or False?    

1. Using a color coding system can identify hazards.  T F
2. It is important for employees to become familiar with the color coding system used on the operation. T F
3. A color coding system can only follow set guidelines.   T F
4. Lines that carry water, steam, electricity, high pressure, air, gases, and chemicals are the type of lines that need to be color coded.  T F
5. Clearly printed labels should be used with the color coding program. T F









Originally posted May 20, 2019.