An effective pipe marking strategy is more than just labels—it also includes the use of valve tags. While valve tags are not required by the ANSI/ASME pipe identification standard, they are an important visual tool that can improve safety and efficiency in the facility by reducing the risk of spills, accidents, and workplace injuries caused by pipes or valves. From emergency personnel to maintenance workers, valve tags can quickly convey essential information to those working on or around pipes.
Types of Valve Tags
Valve tags are simple: any type of tag come in circles and squares, both big and small, and can be made from a variety of materials:
- Metal: Aluminum, stainless steel, and brass valve tags are a popular choice due to their durability. These tags can be engraved or embossed and will hold up in harsh industrial environments.
- Plastic: Using plastic valve tags gives you the option to develop a corresponding color-coding system. For instance, red tags can be used to designate hot liquids, while hazardous substances may be marked with a black and yellow hazard striped tag.
- Wood/Paper: Although a less common option, valve tags can even be made from paper or wood. You will want to define the specific needs of your facility to decide if these materials would be the right choice.
Whether you are overhauling your entire pipe marking strategy or just starting a valve tag program, you will want to begin with an audit. Take a walk around the facility and note all the valves needing a tag and the location. During this process, you can assign a valve number for identification purposes, logging that number into a computer system or in a valve tag chart. Other additional text that you may choose to include on the tag is the name of the substance in the pipe, instructions for valve operation, whether or not the valve should be kept open, and even hazard pictograms.
No matter the type of valve tags or the information you put on the tags, you will want to have a central log of your valve tag program. These reference documents can be physical charts hung up in the facility or an electronic version kept on a computer. Valve charts can help to guide maintenance staff, assist emergencies, or work to facilitate shut downs, and valve tag logs will correspond with the valve chart.
Whether you have plumbing valves or valves on pipes carrying chemicals, it is important to have a tagging system. Evaluate the needs of your facility to develop a valve tag system that will be most effective for your workplace. Choose materials that will last and don’t forget to train your employees on understanding the new system so everyone is on the same page.
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