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Ohio State University Extension


Color Coding for Trainers and Supervisors

Tailgate Safety Training for Landscaping and Horticultural Services
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: Use the color code system to identify workplace hazards.

Trainer’s Note

A consistent color system warns of safety hazards. For this module:

  • Present the colors in the color code system and their meaning.
  • Lead a tour of your workplace. Have workers point out examples of color coding and the hazards identified.
  • Ask workers to watch for hazards that are not appropriately color coded.
  • Review the important points.
  • Have workers take the True/False quiz to check their learning.


The color coding system increases employee safety. All workers should be familiar with the system. Reassigned workers should learn the codes in their new area.

Below is the standard color code system. A copy of the color code should be easy to find for quick reference. Use clearly printed labels with colors. Signs, tags, and tickets should all follow the same system.

The Standard Color-Code System


Should also show the word


Fire safety equipment
Safety containers for flammables
Emergency devices
  • Emergency shut­off switches
  • Stop bar
  • Buttons
Orange Machinery or equipment that can
  • Cut
  • Crush
  • Shock
  • Cause other injury


Should also show the word


Physical dangers
  • Slipping
  • Tripping
  • Falling
  • Caught­-between hazards
  • Striking­-against hazards
Green First­-aid equipment
Blue Equipment under repair
  • Do not start equipment
  • Do not move equipment
Magenta and Yellow or Black and Yellow Radiation hazards
Black, White, or a Combination Traffic movement cautions
  • Aisles
  • Housekeeping areas
  • Similar areas

Review the Following Points

  • All workers should know the color codes.
  • Your workplace codes should be posted and easy to see.
  • In the standard code, red means DANGER.
  • In the standard code, yellow means CAUTION.

About These Modules
The author team for the training modules in the landscape and horticultural tailgate training series includes Dee Jepsen, Program Director, Agricultural Safety and Health, Ohio State University Extension; Michael Wonacott, Research Specialist, Vocational Education; Peter Ling, Greenhouse Specialist; and Thomas Bean, Agricultural Safety Specialist. Modules were developed with funding from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, Grant Number 46E3­HT09.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the U.S. Department of Labor.

Answer Key

1. T

2. T

3. F

4. F

5. T


Quiz: Color Coding



True or False?

1. In the standard code, a first-aid kit is green.     T     F

2. In the standard code, red means DANGER.     T     F

3. In the standard code, blue means CAUTION.     T     F

4. In the standard code, a stop bar would be green.     T     F

5. Clearly printed labels should be used with the color codes.     T     F

Originally posted May 25, 2018.