The Occupational Safety and Health Administration directs employers to use color codes to alert employees to dangerous conditions on the job, including yellow, orange, green, blue and red to signify caution, warning, safety, information, and danger or stop, according to Grainger. Additionally, florescent orange and orange-red represent bio safety; combinations of black, white and yellow represent boundaries; and magenta or purple on yellow represents radiation or caution.
OSHA requires employers to ensure that workplaces are safe. The American National Standards Institute has developed uniform color safety schemes pursuant to OSHA's nonspecific standards. The codes help in identifying hazards and assessing their magnitude, states Grainger.
Employers must color code hazards such as compressed gas cylinders, high voltage, hazardous waste, radiation and defective ladders, notes Grainger. Exits, eye washes, showers, fire extinguishers and storage rooms for flammable or combustible materials also must be marked.
OSHA frequently conducts unannounced inspections to monitor employers' compliance with its regulations, according to the American Professional Safety Trainers Alliance. OSHA's compliance officer issues a report after the inspection, which OSHA's area director reviews. The area director decides the penalties to impose on employers for violations of OSHA's rules, including fines of up to $70,000 for repeat violations, as of 2015. The area director can seek criminal penalties for violations that cause an employee's death.