Pipe Marking: The Basics You Need to Know

Even though pipe marking is an essential practice when it comes to safety in any facility with exposed pipes, this practice is often undervalued and sometimes even overlooked by employers. Why? Well, it could be due to a lack of time to pipe mark or it may even be that they don’t have the correct supplies to engage in pipe marking, however in many cases, it is often both of those reasons combined with a lack of knowledge concerning appropriate pipe marking.

Why is Pipe Marking so Important?

Pipes within facilities are just as important as having wires for electricity. In fact, some would even say pipes within an industrial facility are the lifeblood of the entire operation. Without pipes, how would we bring in fresh water and rid ourselves of dirty water? How would we carry dangerous or flammable substances in and out of our buildings? By hand? That would be preposterous and not to mention highly, highly dangerous. Instead, we use pipes, pipes can carry a variety of different benign or hazardous liquid substances without the need to physically transport them.

ANSI Makes it Easy!

Instead of having each and every industrial work environment utilize different methods and rules for pipe marking, ANSI has made it quite simple by providing a set of pipe marking standards which should be in place within every facility which features exposed piping.

Let’s break down these standards into some smaller, bite size pieces.

Color Coding:

The color coding of pipes just makes visual acuity of pipes and their contents a little less complicated. According to ANSI the following colors should be used to indicate the contents.

  • Red with White Letters: Fire Quenching Fluids
  • Orange with Black Letters: Toxic and/or Corrosive Substances
  • Yellow with Black Letters: Flammable Substances
  • Brown with White Letters: The Fluids may be Combustible.
  • Blue with White Letters: This indicates Compressed Air
  • Green with White Letters: Types of usable water such as Potable, Boiler Feed Water, Cooling   or Other Sources
  • Purple, White, Black, and Gray: These colors have been set aside by ANSI for individual facility use. Basically it is up to the business if they would like to also enlist the help of the additional colors for further pipe marking.

Label Placement:

Believe it or not, but label placement is critical. It is not a good decision to print off some color coded labels and just slap them on in any old spot on the pipe. Instead, the labels must be placed in positions where they can be easily seen and understood.

  • Pipes Positioned Above: Labels should be affixed below. This allows employees to identify the contents of a pipe by simply looking upward.
  • Pipes at Eye Level: Labels should be positioned right at eye level for the greatest level of visual identification.
  • Pipes Positioned Below: If there are exposed pipes below, the labels should be placed on the tops of the pipes so they are easily seen when an employee’s look downward at them.

Pipe labeling doesn’t have to be hard if you know and understand the supplies needed and the standards that are in place. Enhance the safety of your work facility by making sure all pipes are adequately labeled.

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