Colored Barricades For Specific Safety NeedsArticle published on Feb 10, 2021
Crowd Control Warehouse sells a wide variety of powder coated color barricades for customers who want the added protective coating as well as the ability to use a custom color. There are many reasons why an event or property may want a specific color. Some motivations are as obvious as brand continuity, with universities implementing barricades which match their school colors.
However, there may be more subtle reasons for selecting a custom colored barricade.
Have you heard about "Drunk Tank Pink"?
In the late 1978 a researcher named Alexander Schauss performed a series of experiments about the effect of the color pink. His experiments attempted to measure his own performance with strength tests while looking at a pink index card. His studies appeared to demonstrate a lowered heart rate when he was exposed to pink.
In 1979 a Seattle prison participated in Shauss's experiments, painting some of their prison cells the specific shade of pink. Amazingly, the prison reported a decrease in violent outbursts as a result.
Before we can embrace the conclusion that pink creates a calming effect, it must be noted that another prison attempted the experiment and came up with the exact opposite result. Instead, they saw an increase in outbursts. Since psychological bias is likely at play with such a stigmatic color as pink, it's best to conclude not a specific correlation between one color and one behavioral effect, but rather that color can indeed effect mood, (whether we can predict which colors cause which mood changes or not.)
How does the color yellow affect us?
Some color associations are easier to make than others. For instance eye tracking studies have shown that people do not sustain their gaze on the color yellow. In fact, ocularly speaking, they avoid the color. You may be wondering why yellow is a common traffic safety color if it's a color we avoid? Keep in mind that a sustained gaze may actually be a sign of a loss of attention, not an increase in attention. A strong reaction (even of avoidance) to a color indicates that the color is noticed.
The behavior of our retinal mechanisms (called "rods" and "cones") support this as well. Different light wavelengths effect these rods and cones in different ways. Our red and green cones which are particularly sensitive to light are at peak activation when viewing the color yellow. In fact, in terms of visual stimulation, black text on a yellow background provides the highest level of visibility and readability.
How do safety plans incorporate colors?
The science beyond the effect of colors is pretty compelling, but there's something to be said for association as well. In the Drunk Tank Pink anecdote, the variation of results could be explained by a variation in associations with the color pink. In other words, color associations can change from region to region based on cultural differences, environmental differences, etc. While this may seem like an added challenge, it also means that consistency can reinforce associations. For instance as construction sites unilaterally adopt the color orange for construction site barriers, people will begin to associate the color orange with construction sites.
OSHA even has a specific color guideline for barricade colors. For example red and white should be used for barricades geared towards fire prevention and protection equipment. Blue and white on the other hand is meant to alert of defective machinery. And of course, orange and white is meant for traffic safety purposes.
There are certainly branding and marketing motivations for colored barricades. But with specific safety guidelines specifying exactly which colors should be used for exactly which safety situations, powder coated barricades are especially useful for safety needs like those illustrated above.