Ammonia is used for many different things in many industries. One of the most common uses for this chemical is as a refrigerant to help keep areas nice and cold. Known as anhydrous ammonia, it can be either a liquid or a gas, and it is completely clear and colorless.
Refrigeration systems that use ammonia require that it is at least 99.95% pure in order to operate the way that they should. This is a very difficult standard to maintain, even when the ammonia is running through a closed system of pipes.
Another important thing to note about ammonia is that it is extremely dangerous when it comes in contact with people. The following are some of the more severe health hazards associated with this powerful chemical:
Corrosive to the Skin – If ammonia gets onto your skin, it will start eating it away, and keep going until the chemical is removed.
Hazardous to the Eyes – Ammonia will cause severe damage to the eyes, and can even result in blindness. This applies to both the liquid form of the chemical, and as a gas.
Dangerous to the Lungs – When ammonia is inhaled as a gas, or even just the fumes from liquid ammonia, it can cause rapid damage to the lungs resulting in life threating situations.
Flammable – This type of ammonia is flammable, so if it is exposed to a heat source, it can ignite in an instant.
Due to the severity of these risks, it is absolutely essential for all facilities that use this chemical to take every possible precaution. One of the best ways to keep the ammonia safely contained within the pipes and cooling systems is to use high quality labels to ensure everyone knows that it is ammonia within a specific pipe.
Labeling of Ammonia Pipes
While there is no official regulation that is enforced concerning what type of labeling must be in place for pipes containing ammonia, the standard is to have a yellow background with large black letters that say “AMMONIA.” This type of ammonia pipe marking makes it very clear what is traveling through a given pipe.
In addition to just the word, it is often a good idea to include black arrows that indicate which direction the ammonia is flowing. This can help maintenance teams when they are working on the area, and it is generally a good idea to provide as much information as possible whenever marking any type of pipe.
FREE Ammonia Pipe Marking Guide
The best way to get high quality ammonia pipe marking labels is to print them yourself from an industrial label maker. The LabelTac label printers, for example, are an easy to use, affordable printer that can create labels that can be placed on virtually any sized pipe.
Having one of these printers in your facility allows you to quickly print off a new label whenever one is needed. Whether it is because you are installing a new refrigeration system with all new pipes, or you’re just replacing an old label that has gotten worn out over time, the LabelTac printers will meet all your needs.
Information to Include
In addition to the direction of the flow and the fact that it is ammonia, you may want to consider adding a few more pieces of information to your pipe markings. This is a great way to quickly provide the information to the people in the area. If the added information is a distraction away from the main point, that the pipe contains ammonia, however, you don’t want to do this.
The following types of information can be helpful if done right:
Pressure – Knowing the pressure levels of the ammonia can be very important, especially for anyone that may be working near a valve or other area where the ammonia could come out.
Chemical State – Knowing whether the ammonia in the pipe is a liquid or a gas is critical for employee safety.
Temperature – The approximate temperature of the ammonia within the pipe is good to know. This could be different in each area of the facility.
Flow Rate – If the ammonia is going out of a pipe and into a container or machine, it is good to know the rate at which it will come out.
Any other information that you feel could be beneficial to the overall safety of the facility is also good to include. Just try to avoid making the whole pipe cluttered with labels to the point that you can’t really read any of them.
LabelTac 9 Industrial Labeling System
Another big benefit to the LabelTac printers is that you can print off labels of almost any size you could ever need. If you have an extra-large ammonia pipe, for example, you can create sign sized labels using the LabelTac 9 printer. If your pipes are much smaller, however, you can print a label that will fit there as well.
These printers are extremely versatile when it comes to the size of the labels being printed. Many facilities even print off two labels on one piece of label stock, and then wrap it around a small pipe so it serves like a large tag. This makes it much easier to see so that your ammonia pipe marking efforts will be more beneficial.
Where to Place Labels
When it comes to ammonia pipe marking, you really want to make sure you place labels in as many places as you can to ensure everyone knows about the contents of the pipe. This obviously includes the pipes themselves, but that is really just the beginning. The following are some great places to place labels letting people know of the presence of ammonia:
Branching of Pipes – When a pipe splits off into two or more different directions, each of the new pipes should be labeled with the right ammonia pipe markings.
Refrigeration Machinery – The refrigeration machines themselves should be labeled to let people know that the machine contains ammonia.
Valves – If there are any valves where people could hook up a hose to take out ammonia for any reason, these absolutely must be labeled so people don’t accidently open the valve and become exposed to the dangerous chemical.
Easily Visible – Placing ammonia pipe markings in any spot that is needed to ensure these labels are easily visible from all around the pipes.
For the most part, the proper placement of ammonia pipe markings can be determined using common sense. You want to make sure you are placing the labels in such a way that they are the easiest to read and understand for everyone in the area.
Labeling Sizing Guide
PPE for Ammonia
In addition to just keeping the pipes as safe as possible when ammonia is used in the facility, you should also have personal protection equipment for those who work around this chemical. This equipment may need to be worn at all times for some people, or simply be available in the event of an emergency.
Since ammonia is so dangerous, you’ll likely need to have a full body suit that is resistant to corrosion, and includes a respiratory system in it. Of course, providing eye protection is also critical when it comes to personal protection equipment for areas where ammonia is in use.
Make sure everyone knows where this equipment is, and how to use it by placing labels throughout the area that direct people to the personal protection equipment. This will help people to react quickly in the event of an emergency.
Emergency Washing Stations
If ammonia gets on someone at the facility, it is absolutely essential that they are able to get it off their skin as quickly as possible. One great way to do this is by offering an emergency washing station. This can be basically an enclosed shower area that will rapidly pour large amounts of water onto anyone that goes in. The water will need to be drained into a safe area, and disposed of properly.
You can also have emergency eye flushing stations (like the one found here) for those who just have their eyes exposed to the ammonia. Eye washing stations will flush out the ammonia from the eyes quickly to help minimize the damage.
Whatever the type of emergency washing station you are setting up, make sure you not only use labels to help people find them, but also to teach them how to use them. Using simple instructions and pictograms, you can help people to be able to respond much more quickly to any type of exposure to the ammonia so they can minimize the harmful effects.
These direction and instruction labels can be made using the same LabelTac printer that is used to print off the ammonia pipe marking labels, so you can really get a lot of great use from this one printer.
The overall goal of having an effective ammonia pipe marking strategy is to improve the overall safety of the facility. Ammonia is one of many harmful chemicals that are used in facilities today, which is why it is so important to take the risks seriously and do whatever you can to minimize the chances of people getting injured or even killed.