Colour Codes

​​In 1993, the OHA Board of Directors endorsed standardized emergency colour codes to help reduce the chance of human error and eliminate confusion among hospital staff during an emergency. These codes were also adopted by the Canadian Hospital Association Board of Directors in a March 1993 policy statement. In 2008, the OHA introduced additional codes following a survey of member hospitals.

While there is a standardized set of colour codes, the emergency response measures and procedures may be unique to each organization. More information on the colour codes can be found in the OHA Emergency Management Toolkit, found on the Tools and Resources page. Sample posters and badge buddies are also available for download.

Code Silver

In June 2016, the Ontario Hospital Association added Code Silver to the list of standardized Emergency Preparedness Colour Codes to enhance security and safety in hospitals. This involved collaboration with the OHA Health and Safety Advisory Committee. Code Silver is designed to alert staff of the existence of a person with a weapon on the premises.

By standardizing the use of “Silver” as the designated colour for a person with a weapon, the OHA continues to promote consistency of language, application, and approach to the management of these types of incidents.

The OHA encourages all member hospitals to develop and implement a Code Silver Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan, as part of their Emergency Preparedness Colour Codes. Please see the tools and resources page for additional information, to aid your organization in the development of a Code Silver response plan.