Pipe marking is essential to any workplace that transports liquids or substances throughout their facility via pipes. Having an effective pipe marking strategy often requires more than just printing a simple label and putting it on a pipe. Whether it’s ANSI/ASME standards or just tips from the pros, the following are best practices to consider before embarking on your pipe labeling journey.
Requirements for Pipe Marking
While OSHA has not developed specific requirements when it comes to pipe labeling. However, OSHA does require workplaces to follow the standard that has been created and set forth under ANSI/ASME A13.1. These requirements cover multiple components of pipe labeling, but two that deal directly with the label itself are sizing standards and color combination standards.
The ANSI/ASME standard requires different fluids and materials be marked with different color combinations. There are four color combinations that are “user defined” meaning you have the freedom to create pipe labels that are specific to your facility. The following pipe color coding is required:
- Fire quenching fluids: Red label with white text
- Toxic and/or corrosive substances: Orange background with black labels
- Flammable liquids and substances: Yellow with Black text
- Combustible substances: White text on brown background
- Compressed air: Blue label with white text
- Water: White text on green label
Another requirement that has been set forth by ANSI/ASME 13.1 are sizing standards of the label itself. The size of the pipe will constitute the minimum height and length of a label as well as the height text will need to be.
Pipe labels are only effective if they can be seen. In order to achieve this, one pipe should have multiple labels placed on the length of the pipe, and labels should be able to be seen whether it is near the ceiling or down by the ground. Labels will need to be visible to the point of a normal approach and will also need to be visible from every entry point in the floor or wall. If pipes are above the normal line of vision pipe labels should be placed on the underside of the pipe, and vice versa for pipes near the ground or below the normal line of vision. It is important to label a pipe throughout its length too and workers can see them clearly.
Labels will need to be cleaned and maintained in order to stay readable for workers or even emergency responders. Although the materials Creative Safety Supply uses for pipe labels are durable and designed to survive industrial climates, it is crucial to keep them clean. If dirt or grime builds up over time, symbols and lettering may no longer be readable. Depending on the pipe’s contents, you can also purchase labels specifically developed for harsh conditions. There are labels that can withstand extreme temperatures, ones that will stick on oil surfaces, and labels that are extra resistant to hazardous chemicals.
If you are worried about replacing labels too often, an industrial label printer might be a smart investment for your facility. Label printers, like LabelTac, gives you the freedom to create and print custom and compliant pipe labels in just a matter of minutes. Label supply also comes in a variety of finishes and adhesives including reflective supply, high temperature supply, and UltraChem supply.