Caution tape is bright yellow plastic strip that is frequently used by the police to mark off an area. It usually has bold black letters that say, “Caution” continuously with minimal space between the words. It can also be white with red or black letters or other colors, but yellow and black are used most often because they catch the attention of those in the area. It is made from polyethylene plastic material that is very resilient, and it will often last for a while outdoors unless the weather is extremely windy or icy.
The police use caution tape to warn people to stay away from a roped off area. It means not to proceed beyond that point. If there has been a crime, such as a shooting, the area is immediately roped off with this product, usually in a rectangular space that is about five feet from the victim on all sides. If there is a problem on a sidewalk, such as a crack in the cement, or if it is extremely icy, the police will also use this tape to mark the area until it is repaired or the ice melts.
Caution tape is also used during the construction of buildings to warn the public to stay back. It protects them from falling objects that may come down as construction workers labor above, and it also warns them of holes or areas that could potentially cause a fall. In housing construction, it is placed across sets of stairs that are not securely attached to the frame or to mark a basement without stairs that may not be seen without this bright yellow warning.
People are so familiar with this signal to let them know of potential dangers that only a child would need to stop to read it. It causes an automatic response in the minds of adults to immediately stop and to go no further. Young children become familiar with the sight of this warning when they are in school because it is sometimes used to rope off playground areas to warn drivers not to proceed into a parking lot.
Some tapes have adhesive on one side so that they can be placed directly on floors to barricade an area, and they are typically bright yellow and black diagonal stripes. Sometimes they are used for crowd control in stadiums and areas where hundreds or thousands of people gather. Wide walkway tape may be used to keep pedestrians in safe areas in industries where shredded pieces of plastic or metal or other dangers may be present. It is also used in stores that are being remodeled to keep customers out of construction areas and in places are safe to be in. This wide marking is usually a peel and stick piece that stays on the floor for a long time.
Other floor styles include thin strips of black and yellow diagonal stripes to notify pedestrians of areas that are not accessible for safety reasons or to keep them out of the way when workers need to be in the area for repairs. Reflective styles can be seen at night to notify pedestrians or workers of a potential danger in the workplace. These are available in several colors. In a car repair shop or industrial area where oil is frequently used, anti-slip tapes are sometimes used to prevent accidental falls.
Caution tape is also used for pranks to cause someone to think that their driveway or front door is roped off. It can also be used as a party decoration for adult parties or for young boys’ birthday parties with a construction worker and truck theme.