Color & Accident Matters
The color made me do it! You are the judge.
"I didn't intend to break the traffic rules," he stated. "It's the stop sign. It's green and it should be red and I went right through it." What's your verdict?
Colors do affect our actions and reactions in traffic as well as in interior environments. Colors can create conditions that can cause fatigue, increase stress, decrease visual perception, damage eyesight, increase possible worker errors, and negatively affect orientation and safety.
The healthy, accident-free workspace is an issue that is being redefined by new facts. The "sick building syndrome" has made us aware of the toxic effects of many interior elements. Ergonomics has made us aware of furniture which can help to avoid strain and injury. Of equal importance is the role that color plays in creating accident-free, physically and visually sound interiors. Incorrect use of colors and patterns in interior and exterior environments can create visual impairments and cause serious accidents.
Here are some examples of color as the cause of accidents and injuries in interior and exterior environments:
1. A factory worker reaches for the emergency "STOP" lever on a machine. It is improperly color-coded and does not conform to OSHA regulations (US). He reaches for the wrong one. (OSHA coding for emergency stop bars devices is red.)
An elderly man is walking down a hallway in a hotel. The hall is carpeted with a brightly colored large pattern. He perceives the colors to be "jumping up" at him (because most bright colors are perceived to be moving forward), his motor responses respond, and he trips and falls to the floor.
3. A dock worker carrying a box on a stepped platform, slips and falls because the edge of the work area is not distinctly marked.
4. An office worker suffers constant headaches and visual fatigue after working at a computer terminal. The bright yellow wall color behind the monitor and glare from surrounding fixtures are straining her eyes. After several years, her once perfect vision is impaired.
5. An assembly line worker is distracted by a brightly colored object within her field of vision. She loses concentration and injures her hand.