Each year over 90,000 forklift accidents occur in the United States despite recommendations and alerts issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA developed several forklift safety guidelines to help protect drivers and pedestrians. As part of their requirements, pedestrian pathways should be clearly marked and free of obstruction. Visual communications for pedestrians and employees such as striping, signs and symbols are important safety measurements to implement to adhere to the requirements.

Traditionally, organizations use adhesive tape and paint for markings. With these products there are direct and indirect costs that can be expensive to maintain and replace. Depending on the product, labor, and material costs to paint or lay tape can range from two to ten dollars per square foot.

An alternative to paint and tape is virtual projection which allows you to project and communicate safety standards where needed especially in high-traffic areas or where paint or adhesive doesn’t stick well. Labor is minimal given that it will not wear-off so the need to repaint or restripe is eliminated. Additionally, projectors can be relocated easily when a facility’s layout changes. Virtual safety projectors are an efficient, cost-effective substitute to traditional floor marking products.


Choosing a virtual safety projector

With all technologies, all are not the same or equal. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a virtual safety projector. When looking at brands, be sure to choose a tested technology that is proven to be reliable, ready to hardwire with included mounted brackets, and an extended warranty — optimally five years. The best virtual projectors have service temperature ranges between -40F to 120F allowing them to operate in high heat and cold environments.

LED bulbs will provide the most long-term savings. The longest life on LED bulbs today is approximately 75,000 hours. That is more than eight and a half years without having to replace paint or tape.

The safety projector should be spray resistant with an IP54 rating within the international IEC 60529.

Next, how many projectors will I need for my layout? The number of required virtual projectors vary based on the mounting height within the facility. The number can be calculated by starting with the layout of the area that provides the linear lengths, widths, and heights. Each projector can project a single line. If an aisle has two lines, then the number of projectors is doubled. The organization selling the projector should be able to help consult based off the buying organization’s floor layout.


Safety projection floor marking tips

Areas to incorporate: Traffic routes, hazardous areas (chemicals and electrical), machinery areas for both stationary and mobile machines, space allocation identification for products, materials and cleaning supplies.

Adhere to OSHA requirements: OSHA requires safety lines to be a minimum of 2” in width and can be up to 6” making the projected lines easily visible for pedestrians. Aisle widths will vary depending on use. OSHA requires aisle widths to be at least three feet wider than the largest piece of equipment, or a minimum of four feet. Exits should have a width of at least 28 inches; storage rooms with combustible materials should be at least 36 inches wide. Pedestrians should have adequate space to remain within the “safe” areas. A best practice for aisle width is between 36 to 48 inches.  

Color coding for safety: Color coding should be standardized within a facility. Recommendations for colors relating to safety are provided by OSHA. It is not required to follow these color codes but is highly recommended, so employees and visitors recognize the color coding from facility to facility.

Keeping employees and visitors safe throughout your facility and adhering to OSHA requirements is crucial. Visual communications can help you accomplish this whether it be traditional methods or more modern technologies. Modern technologies can provide higher benefits, be more cost effective, and efficient.