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Posted May 29, 2014 by Tony Ferraro in Safetyblog
 
 

Pipe Marking Standards


In many of today’s modern facilities there are many different products in use to help improve the way the facility works. Everything from water being used to cool machinery to acids, fire suppression products and even gasses are used on a regular basis. The one thing all of these products have in common is that they are typically moved through a facility in pipes. These pipes are specially made to safely carry the different products where they need to go quickly and easily.

While most people don’t give these types of pipes a second thought, they are actually a major focus for any safety manager in the facility. Knowing what types of things travel through which pipes, for example, is vital knowledge when planning out safety procedures. In addition, the proper labeling and use of pipes is required by state and federal laws in many cases. Knowing the proper pipe marking standards, and following them, is very important.

Pipe Marking Standards – Color Coding

As you can see in the image below, the color of pipe labels is one aspect of indicating what types of products are being transported through a particular pipe. Rather than relying simply on text on a pipe, using color coding makes it much easier to see what category of product is being transported through a specific pipe. In addition, it is typically easier to identify a color from a greater distance than it would be the text of a label.

Pipe-Marking-Standards-Colors

By following these simple color coded labeling standards, a facility can quickly improve the overall safety of the area, and provide everyone with quick access to information. Imagine a situation where someone saw a pipe that had a small leak in it. Without proper labeling, they would not immediately be able to tell whether the liquid was water, or some sort of toxic liquid. If, on the other hand, they noticed that the labeling on the pipe was orange, they would know that it contained toxic or corrosive fluids. This would allow them to quickly respond properly to keep everyone safe, and have the leak fixed by professionals.

Where to Label Pipes

Whether adding labels to existing pipes, or adding new pipes to a facility, it is important to know where the labels need to be located. This is important not only to ensure the pipes are as safe as possible, but also because there are regulations in place to ensure these labels are easily visible to those working in the area. There are four specific requirements when labeling pipes, which can be seen on the image below. In addition to the requirements, facilities need to make sure the labels are placed in a way that makes them easy to see by everyone in the area.

Pipe-Marking-Standards-Placement

Following these standards is essential for remaining compliant with regulations, and improving safety. In addition, however, it is important to use common sense when placing labels. In some situations, for example, it may be important to put a label on the pipes every 10 feet. This may be the case for areas where visibility is low due to darkness or other factors.

How big do Labels Need to Be

Having labels placed on pipes every 25’ may meet the requirements, but they won’t do any good if they aren’t large enough to be seen from a distance. This is why there are also requirements in place regarding how large the labels on these pipes need to be. The specific label length and height requirements are based on the size of the pipe, in diameter. The larger the pipe, the larger you will need to make the labels to stay in compliance with the requirements. This image shows the specific label sizing requirements for the most common sized pipes:

Pipe-Marking-Standards-Labeling

As with the placement requirements, these are simply the minimums allowed. If you feel it would be better to have larger labels; that is always encouraged. The important thing to keep in mind is that these labels need to be seen by people working in the area, so whatever you can do to make that easier will be a benefit to the overall safety of the facility.
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Using Safety Signs

Pipe labeling is a great way to inform people of the types of products that are being transported through the pipes in a facility. These labels, however, are not always entirely effective where the pipe ends. Whether they go into a machine, have a spout, or are vented somewhere, it is essential to ensure everyone in the area knows what may be coming out of a particular pipe. This is where safety signs can be extremely helpful.

Safety signs can be used in many ways throughout the facility, including on or near pipes. Just like pipe labeling, there are some color standards to keep in mind when choosing which safety signs to use. Following the color codes listed on the image below will quickly alert people in the area of potential dangers with a particular pipe.

Placing a sign with a red “DANGER” (like this DANGER sign) warning near a spout, for example, will help ensure nobody mistakenly turns it on thinking it is just water. There are a variety of different colors for conveying all different types of information to people in the area. Some of them are just informational, such as the blue “NOTICE” signs, and others are meant as a warning of danger.

Using Labels & Signs to Improve Safety

Whenever adding labels or signs to a facility, it is important to remember that their use has two primary functions. First, these signs and labels will help ensure your facility remains in compliance with all the local, state or federal safety requirements. This can help to avoid fines or other penalties during inspections. The second and more important reason these types of signs and labels should be used is to improve the overall safety of a facility. There are many hazardous or even deadly liquids and gasses transported through facilities on a regular basis. Warning employees of the risks can help keep everyone safe. If you need an industrial label maker (like this one) to print your pipe markings or other labeling materials, make sure you visit Creative Safety Supply.


Tony Ferraro

 
On behalf of Creative Safety Supply based in Portland, OR, I strive to provide helpful information to create safer and more efficient industrial work environments. My knowledge base focuses primarily on practices such as 5S, Six Sigma, Kaizen, and the Lean mindset. I believe in being proactive and that for positive change to happen, we must be willing to be transparent and actively seek out areas in need of improvement. An organized, safe, and well-planned work space leads to increased productivity, quality products and happier workplace. Connect with Antonio on Google+