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If you work in a safety or construction industry, you may have heard the term “caution tape” used to refer to a wide variety of barrier messages, even ones which don’t include the word “caution”. Just as Americans might be in the habit of using the word “rollerblades” when referring to inline skates of any kind (or a plethora of other hyper-specific misnomers), people have also come to use the term “caution tape” to refer to barricade tapes of any kind. 

What is Barricade Tape?

The truth is, what people are often referring to is more accurately called “barricade tape”.  While “caution tape” refers specifically to the yellow polyethylene tape which contains caution messaging, barricade tape refers to any polyethylene tape, with or without messaging of any kind, put into place to create a barricade around a perimeter and increase caution.

The misnomer is quite understandable, as “caution tape” is probably the most common type of barricade tape, but it’s not the only kind. Typically barricade tape includes two main types:

  • Caution Tape:Caution tape tends to use black lettering on a yellow polyethylene ribbon to create a high contrast “Caution” messaging which is easy to see and heightens caution. This could include messages like “Caution – Do Not Enter” and “Caution – No Parking”. Some caution tape takes advantage of the high contrast of black and yellow with diagonal stripes that catch the attention, but otherwise has no messaging at all.  
  • Danger Tape:Danger tape uses black lettering on top of a red polyethylene ribbon instead. The messaging in these cases usually includes the word “Danger” and is meant to escalate the level of warning which might exist with the yellow caution tape alternative. While caution tape is probably used where some risk is present, danger tape is used when there’s a more serious risk of hazard. Red tape for instance might say “Danger – Do Not Enter” instead of “Caution – Do Not Enter”.

These are the most common instances of polyethylene barricade caution tapes. But there are plenty of exceptions. Here are some of the other common barricade tapes one might see: 

  • Yellow Crime Scene and Police Tape: Sometimes crime scene perimeters are barricaded off with yellow tape, but the messaging is explicit. For instance the police may secure the perimeter with tape containing messages like “Crime Scene – Do Not Cross” or “Police Line – Do Not Cross”. This makes it clear that the police may be in and out of the perimeter, but pedestrians and passers by should steer clear. 
  • Underground Tape:Sometimes gas lines or other underground risks must be marked with tape in case of excavation, but do not need to be visible from the surface. These tapes are called “non detectable underground tape”. While they’re often made from polyethylene just like barricade tape, they can be in any color which might catch an excavator’s attention. An example of the messaging on this kind of tape would be “Gas Line Below”. 


What is Polyethylene?

Perhaps you’ve noticed that most of these tapes have been described as “polyethylene”, but what is polyethylene?

Polyethylene is a specific kind of plastic which has high ductility and impact strength. Unlike other harder plastics, it can change shape under impact and can stretch or twist without breaking. Because of this, it’s commonly used for industrial materials, just like barricade tape.

Other Barricade Options 

As useful as polyethylene barricade tapes are, there are plenty of safety and crowd control occasions which require more significant obstruction. While barricade tape can create a continuous barrier, it is quite easy to penetrate, and is mostly meant to provide a visual barrier.

  • Traffic Cones: Simple traffic cones like thesehave a similar effect as barricade tape, signaling caution with the use of bright colors while providing a visual barrier where entry is denied or where caution should be used. 
  • Retractable Belt Barrier Cone Mounts:  Retractable belt barrier cone mountsattach to the top of traffic cones and contain retractable belts which can be extended to create a full barrier and connect to other cone mounts. Like barricade tapes, these can include precautionary messaging like “Authorized Access Only” and “No Parking”.
  • Delineators: Like barricade tape, delineator postsare made from polyethylene as well. Their structure is quite simple and they look like straight, upright versions of traffic cones. Like traffic cones, they tend to be designed in bright colors which are highly visible and imply a need for caution. In addition to this, they can often be paired with barricade and caution tape to create a complete barrier.


While there are many effective ways to create delineators and barriers around high risk areas, barricade tape is a simple solution with high customizability. While “Caution” and “Danger” messages may be the most common, practically any message can be printed onto this tough, polyethylene tape to achieve exactly the warning needed. 

article courtesy of Crowd Control Warehouse

Safety Wear: A Guide

Safety Wear, commonly known as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refers to all equipment (e.g., devices, appliances and associated accessories) that is worn by an individual, in order to provide protection against one or more health or safety risks, whilst at work.

There are two types of PPE, namely; Simple PPE and Complex PPE.

  • Simple PPE refers to equipment that has a basic design model, it protects against lower risk hazards. It is reasonable to assume that with this type of PPE, the user is aware of the hazards, can see the risk gradually increasing and is able to make an assessment and safely identify the need for PPE to be worn.
  • Complex PPE refers to equipment that has more of a technical design and provides protection against fatal or serious risk. With this type of PPE, we can say that the user is unable to identify the hazard in sufficient time and is immediately exposed to hazards that have irreversible effects.

The Type of PPE

There are many different types of PPE for the body and depending on the job type. Therefore, it is important to know what equipment is out there to use and to help keep you safe. The following types of PPE is available;

    • Skin protection (e.g., protective clothing)
    • Respiratory protective equipment (RPE)
    • Eye protection (e.g., goggles) (RPE)
    • Head protection (e.g., safety helmets)
    • Ear protection (e.g., earplugs)
    • Foot protection (e.g., steel toecap boots)
    • Hand and arm protection (e.g., gloves)
    • Body protection (e.g., high-visibility clothing)
    • Fall protection (e.g., safety harnesses)

    Types of Skin PPE

    There are three main types of whole-body Skin PPE;

    • Separates – these only cover a part of the body (e.g., jackets or trousers).
    • Aprons – these only cover a part of the body.
    • Overalls, coveralls, body suits, boiler suits, rain suits, chemical suits – these cover the whole body, and may be reusable or disposable.


    For leg protection (as well as trousers), there is also;

    • Knee pads.
    • Gaiters – these cover the shins.
    • Hard fibre or metal guards, which help to protect against some impact hazards.
    • Leggings protect the lower leg and feet from molten metal or welding sparks. Safety snaps permit their rapid removal.


    For skin protection to be effective;

    Manufacturer’s instructions must be followed (e.g., do not use chemical resistance for longer than the recommended breakthrough times, and clean as to not damage its effectiveness).

    • Protective clothing must be suitable for the hazard in question (e.g., chemical resistance and protection against physical hazards can vary widely).
    • Manufacturer’s instructions must be followed (e.g., do not use chemical resistance for longer than the recommended breakthrough times, and clean as to not damage its effectiveness).
    • Worn or contaminated clothing must be stored separately from clean clothing.
    • Check for surface damage, which could reduce its effectiveness.
    • Do not wear loose clothing near moving machinery, if there is a chance that it could get caught.

      Types of Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE)

      Respiratory PPE helps to protect the entire internal respiratory system, it prevents anything from entering the mouth. Respiratory protection also helps to protect the outside of the mouth and face, this is because of the way it is designed.

      There are two main types of respiratory protection these include:

      • Breathing apparatus – These are used for high-risk work activities where breathing in the contaminated air could be fatal, as well as when there is a chance that the air could become deficient of oxygen
      • Respirator – These PPE filter out any contaminates from workplace air and there are three types of respirators, these include – Simple Filtering­ Face Piece Respirator (disposable mask), Respirator (full face or half face reusable mask) and Power-assisted respirators.


      Eye Protection

      This type of PPE protects the conjunctiva (mucus membranes of the eyes), as well as help to reduce the risk of foreign objects entering the eyes and damaging them.

      There are three main types of eye protection, these are;

      • Safety glasses – These are effective for flying objects heading straight towards the face, but they are not effective for vapours and dust that can enter the eyes.
      • Goggles – They are effective at protecting the eyes from all angles, as the rim is in contact with the face
      • Face shields and visors – These can be worn with prescription glasses underneath, and they help to protect the whole face.


       Head Protection

      Head PPE can protect the head from physical hazards, they can also protect other parts of the upper body, such as the neck, hair, nose and ears.

      There are two main types of head protection that are used in the workplace, these are;

      • Industrial safety helmets – These protect the head from falling objects such as – tree-felling, building and construction and blasting at a quarry.
      • Bump caps – These protect the head from being bumped, they are useful for maintenance personnel working under machinery and plumbers working under pipework. However, the do not offer adequate protection from the risk of a falling object.

      Firefighter helmets are similar to industrial safety helmets; however, they cover more of the head and give greater protection against impact, heat and flames.



      Ear Protection

      There are three main types of ear protection, these include:

      • Ear defenders (ear muffs) – The cups are lined with a sound absorbing material, this helps to reduce the level of noise to the ears
      • Ear plugs – These fit into the ear canal and form a seal, they also can have a cord on them, that you can put behind the back of the neck, to help prevent them from becoming lost.
      • Canal caps – These are similar to ear plugs; however, they offer less protection they are suitable for operations where earplugs would be frequently taken out and put back in.


      Foot Protection

      There are two common types of foot protection, they both offer a variety of protection, these are:

      • Safety boots and shoes – They come with slip-resistant soles, penetration-resistant midsoles, protective toe caps.
      • Wellington boots – These are suitable for people who work in wet conditions, they are normally made from rubber, they also come with slip-resistant soles, penetration-resistant midsoles, protective toe caps.


      Hand and Arm Protection

      There are four main types of hand and arm protection, these include:

      • Gloves – These protect the hands, they can prevent blisters from occurring, people from burning themselves or getting splinters in their hands.
      • Gloves with cuffs – These protect both the hand and the wrists
      • Gauntlets, sleeves and long gloves – These provide protection for the hands, wrists and parts of the forearms.
      • Sleeves and arm protection – These can provide protection for the whole forearms and upper arms.


      High Visibility Clothing

      This is required to protect the body against certain hazards such as moving vehicles, the main types are:

      • Jackets
      • Tops
      • Trousers
      • Vests



      Prevention is better than cure. A smart thing is to be prepared for the worst. A classic first-aid kit is no luxury but a first-aid kit for the eyes can also be an essential first aid. If the employee comes into contact with chemicals, a safety shower is mandatory, so that he can rinse the substances off his body at any moment. Not only is preparing your workshop for accidents a smart thing to do, it is even smarter to organise your workshop in such a way that no serious accidents can take place. A simple way to make your workshop safer is to use pictograms: indicating flammable materials, the necessary use of hearing protection and indicating emergency exits.


      The above-mentioned tips are simple and easily applicable to your working environment. Correctly observing the safety requires little effort, but it can have a big influence on your health. Even here at Cope Africa, we work hard every day to create a safe working environment. Our SHE-advisors put our safety first. They take training courses on a regular basis in order to keep their knowledge up-to-date. From our expertise, we have composed an assortment of safety products that contribute to a safe working environment. We offer your protective equipment from your head to your toes, because Cope Africa also takes care of your safety!

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