Color in Industry
In industry you can use color and lighting not merely to make working places clean and orderly but also to improve the health, comfort, and well-being of the workers. The selection of the correct colors for different surfaces needs careful consideration. Distinctive colors can be used to help the eye to register properly on the moving parts of machinery. Neutral gray backgrounds serve to eliminate distraction from the field of vision. Better vision, greater accuracy, less eyestrain, and fewer accidents result from careful color planning.
The color treatment that you select should be determined by a study of the plant, its location, the location of the various departments, the kind of work being performed, and the type of equipment being used. In factories where temperatures are relatively high, cool light tones of blue and green are advisable. Soft, warm buffs and sun-tone creams add apparent warmth to cool locations.
Pipelines running along walls and ceilings may be made inconspicuous by painting them the same color as adjacent walls and ceilings. This also applies to steel bracings and masonry and steel columns.
Ceilings, together with overhead steel work, beams, cross-bracing wires and pipes, should be painted in light tones, which are receding colors. The ceilings thus become inconspicuous and do not “bear down” on the worker.
When a machine is so located that a wall of the room is constantly in the operator’s field of vision, you should use colors that rests the eyes rather than stimulate them. The wall, which is glanced at frequently for eye rest or change, should have approximately the same brightness as the working surface.
High-visibility colors can be used to draw attention to danger areas. Bands of “safety yellow” along the sides of aisles will help to keep workers from drifting into dangerous traffic zones. Black-and-yellow stripping is used as a warning on obstacles either on the floor or overhead.
Heavy machinery can be made less bulky-looking by using gray-greens, bluish grays, and medium grays in the particular shade most suitable to the interior color plan of the plant. Where soilage is a problem, the need for cleanliness and care can be emphasized by the proper use of color for machinery. Color guides can identify oiling and other maintenance areas by providing contrast at lubrication points.