Since colors are being based on status, I think it would be a good idea to add a column for this status and then have an excel color filter that adjusts the color based on this field. This could make it easier for you to filter, and also provides support for color blind individuals. The column could be hidden by default if it bothers the aesthetics of the owner.
I was also wondering if the JAWS skim reading utility works within Excel, while it is generally used to search for paragraphs with a specific word and then read the beginning of the paragraph or similar type functions, I am fairly confident it has a way to detect colors also. I have only tried using it on web sites and word processing documents.