A pipe marking project can only be effective when people can actually see the pipe labels! Not only do labels need to be seen by employees, but they should also be seen by visitors and emergency personnel for safety reasons.
You will need to first understand where labels are needed. This step is actually fairly straightforward and can be done after your pipes have been audited. In addition to the size of labels and the color combinations of pipe markings, the ANSI/ASME standard recommends to place pipe markers in four designated areas on the pipe:
- Every 25’ to 50’ along straight runs
- At all changes in direction (on both sides of the turn)
- At both sides of entry points through floors and walls
- Next to all flanges and valves
If you notice any of these areas on your pipe are not suitable for a label due to size, valve tags can be used as a substitute. Although it is not able to be read from a distance, valve tags include important information about the pipe’s contents including an identifying number and instructions. They can even be color coded to math your pipe marking strategy.
While the ASME/ANSI pipe marking standards recommends labelling all the pipes in your facility, it is not a requirement. However, at the very least you must label pipes under the following circumstances:
- If pipes contain hazardous substances
If contents of pipes could impact emergency procedures
- If the flow direction or destination of contents is unknown
- If regular maintenance requires that valve(s) be shut off or flow be redirected
Where to place them on the pipe
In addition to the standards set forth by ANSI and ASME, you will also need to ensure the pipe label can be seen from most people’s line of sight for maximum visibility. A few guidelines to placement:
- The label should be visible from the point of a normal approach. This means someone should not have to search for the label or strain themselves trying to read it.
- The label should be visible at every entry point in the floor or wall. You may need to place multiple labels around the circumference of the pipe to achieve this.
- If a pipe is located below normal line of sight, like near the floor, the label should be placed above the pipe’s horizontal centerline.
- On the same note, if a pipe is located above normal line of sight, like near the ceiling, place the label below the pipe’s horizontal centerline.
It can seem like a hassle to order more labels or add more markings to the pipe than you originally intended, but visibility and following standards is extremely important to the safety and efficiency of your facility. If you are planning to undertake a large labeling project or are in need of quite a few new pipe labels, consider investing in an industrial label printer. These printers will allow you to create your own professional-grade labels in just a few minutes. It will make any labeling project a breeze!
- Pipe Color Codes – ANSI/ASME A13.1– creativesafetysupply.com
- Pipe Marking Season: Auditing Your Facility’s Pipes– blog.creativesafetysupply.com
- Where to Place Pipe Marking Labels– warehousepipemarking.com
- Great Pipe Marking Examples– lean-news.com
- Pipe Marking for Your Facility– hiplogic.com
- 6 Pains to Avoid During a Pipe Labeling Project– creativesafetypublishing.com
- OSHA vs. ANSI Pipe Marking – What You Need to Know– safetyblognews.com
- Pipe Marking – 7 Things You Should Know– babelplex.com
- ANSI Pipe Marking Standards– bridge-to-safety.com