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Toolbox Talk: Barricade Tape: Caution, Warning & Danger

By February 16, 2021 No Comments

Indicate with Tape … Communicate & Keep People Safe

Barricade tape is a visual and physical obstruction intended to warn and limit access to a work area. There are different types of tape, and you should be familiar with all of them. The two most commonly used in construction are yellow caution and red danger tape.

Yellow Caution/Warning Tape Indicates:

The area has safety and health concerns of a lower degree. This could range from anything from hoses or cables on the ground, noise, heavy equipment in use, a congested work area and more. Unless the tape states otherwise … yellow tape can mean, “Enter, but proceed with caution.”

Red Danger Tape Indicates:

There is a safety and health concern of an immediate or high potential degree in the area. Some of these immediate dangers could include overhead loads, suspended loads, work being performed overhead, high noise exposure, open holes, fall protection required, confined space entry and more. Red tape means, “Do not enter without permission from controlling area supervisor.”

The following are some guidelines and best practices for using any type of barricade tape:
  • A competent or qualified person should put the tape up and instruct workers not to cross over or under the tape while it is barricading an area, except in an emergency or when work in progress requires them to enter the area
  • Use barricade tape that is strong
  • The repeat wording on the tape should easily identify any hazard
  • The tape should be reusable; giving you the option of moving it as the work site changes
  • Use the tape to outline restricted areas
  • All barricade tape shall have a sign posted (next to or on the tape) with at least the following information:
    • Identifying the hazard
    • Point of Contact
    • Contact number
  • Never remove barricade tape unless authorized to do so
    • If a tape is worn, replace it immediately
    • Do not tamper with the tape
    • If you tear or break the tape, replace it with new tape immediately
  • Notify your supervisor when you need more tape
  • When the hazard/task is no longer present, completely remove and dispose/store the tape as appropriate from the site to eliminate any confusion
When to Use Barricade Tape:
  • Use tape to identify work sites, construction hazardous areas, perimeters, and the presence of excavation work
  • Use barricade tape with red (danger) or yellow (caution) tape to seal off areas where work equipment, workers’ private vehicles, materials, and debris are stored
  • Hang caution tape from overhanging plumbing that you could hit with your head
  • Caution tape may be used for a controlled access line if it will support 200 pounds
    • The difference between a warning line and a caution line is the purpose of the use:
      • The warning line must be strong enough so that if a worker backed up to it, they would be stopped by the line; while a caution line is used to keep other workers out of an area
      • A caution line serves as a visual warning, while a warning line is a physical warning

Conclusion: Replace your caution, warning, and danger barricade tape when it is worn out or the lettering is no longer readable. It’s better to use more tape than you need if it prevents accidents. Use these guidelines to keep your work site safe.

Remember, safety is built one step a time!

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