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Five Industrial Uses for Prismatic Tape

By Matt Wastradowski

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Every day, railroad workers perform maintenance in dark tunnels, maritime employees perform challenging search-and-rescue operations, and truck drivers transport materials throughout the United States. Yet no matter the scenario, it is imperative that hazards are quickly and easily spotted from a safe distance—no matter the conditions.

Prismatic tape can help achieve those goals. The highly reflective durable tape allows workers to identify important messages from greater distances than with standard-grade reflective tape, and a transparent protective layer ensures labels and signs maintain reflectivity in abrasive conditions.

Here are five scenarios where prismatic tape can help employers ensure a safe, productive workplace.

1. Transportation and Work Zone Safety

Transportation safety with DuraLabel Prismatic TapeThe United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) governs the nation’s transportation systems, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates commercial vehicles. As such, it’s important that tractor trucks and other larger vehicles follow federal rules and ensure the safety of everyone sharing the road. Prismatic tape may play an important role in keeping drivers and workers safe on United States highways.

Here are a few examples:

  • Any company or organization with a large number of cars or trucks can identify fleet vehicles with DOT-compliant labels
  • The FMCSA’s regulation for lighting and reflective material (49 CFR 393.11) states that red-and-white reflective material must be applied to the rear and sides of a tractor trailer or tanker.
  • Users can keep drivers safe with custom messages, including “Stay Back,” “Wide Load,” and “Wide Right Turn."
  • Vehicles can apply a prismatic reflective label to a fire extinguisher, saving valuable time in an emergency.

Government organizations and contractors can keep workers and drivers safe in and around work zones, as well. Prismatic tape can:

  • Mark work zone devices, including orange and white traffic cones, road barrels, and barriers
  • Highlight signs, barricades, and other traffic control devices

2. Rail Safety

Prismatic Tape Rail SafetyTrains are a vital part of the country’s infrastructure and economy. They run day and night, and many travel in tunnels, where light may be lacking.

In those scenarios, prismatic tape may help workers stay safe on the job. Here’s how:

  • Prismatic labels can identify switch controls and wayside track equipment on railroads and in subways, which can be easily seen at night or in dark tunnels.
  • According to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), railcars must be outfitted with retroreflective markings (such as prismatic tape) so they remain visible in rain, fog, darkness, and other low-visibility settings. The FRA’s regulations for the location of retroreflective labeling (49 CFR 224.106) states that these materials must be placed at both ends of every car and every 12' (or closer, when it’s not possible to place reflective tape every 12') along the side of a car.
  • Employers can print railyard safety signs onto prismatic tape to keep employees safe at all times.

3. Maritime Industries

Prismatic tape can mean the difference between life and death in maritime industries working under rules established by the United States Coast Guard (USCG).

USCG regulations maintain that reflective material must be placed on all lifesaving devices, including lifeboats and rescue boats, rafts, buoys, and lifejackets. Reflective prismatic tape can nighttime search-and-rescue efforts, making people and equipment easier to spot in rough conditions.

Learn more about USCG’s requirements for reflective material on lifesaving devices.

Prismatic tape may also come in handy in shipyards, on ships, and aboard oil rigs, especially when clouds, fog, and other low-light factors decrease visibility. Here are a few examples:

  • It assists with wayfinding through cramped quarters and warns of hazards.
  • It increases the visibility of equipment in all conditions.

4. Mines and Mining-Related Activities

Mining safety with Prismatic TapeMining and natural resource extraction plays an enormous role in the global economy, and prismatic tape can keep workers safe in low-light and dusty conditions. Here’s how:

  • Vehicles and equipment, no matter the size, should be marked with reflective tape. When prismatic tape is applied, workers can watch for rail cars, vehicles in motion, and machines with moving parts.
  • Escape paths in underground coal mines must be outfitted with a durable lifeline marked with a reflective material every 25 feet, per MSHA’s standards and regulations for the mining industry (30 CFR 75.380).
  • Safety signs warn of hazards, direct miners to safety, provide instruction, and highlight equipment in emergency and low-light situations.

Escape paths in underground coal mines must be outfitted with a durable lifeline marked with a reflective material every 25 feet.

5. Safety Signs and Labels for Low-light Settings

Graphic Products customers can use the DuraLabel PRO 300 label and sign printer with prismatic tape to create custom signs for various low-light settings. Some of these signs may include:

  • Arc flash labels must be visible to personnel before they are exposed to an arc flash hazard. Reflective material can increase visibility in low-light settings where workers may perform maintenance. Learn more about arc flash labeling requirements.
  • Custom safety signs can be seen in all conditions and environments when printed on reflective material. These can alert workers and visitors to hazards, provide safety instructions, and more. Learn more about the importance of safety signs that comply with OSHA regulations.
  • Warehouse wayfinding can direct employees around worksites, provide paths in power outages, and more.
  • Perimeter fence labels can communicate any electrical charges, direct visitors to the nearest entrance, and provide security warnings.
  • Emergency signage can direct first responders to stairs, exits, and equipment when the power goes out.

Prismatic Tape Solutions

With Graphic Products' DuraLabel® Prismatic Reflective Tape, users can:

  • Print custom labels in seconds with easy-to-use DuraSuite™ and LabelForge ™ labeling software
  • Save money, time, and supplies with tape that enables professional-looking application
  • Create signs that stand up to outdoor weathering, repetitive impact, and more with tape that exceeds Type III and Type IV requirements in the ASTM D 4956 standard for retroreflective sheeting

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