What Does Pipe Markers Mean?
Pipe markers are adhesive labels that are applied to pipes within a facility's pipe system. They are used to advise workers of the substances contained within the pipe, as well as to indicate properties of the substance such as associated hazards and the direction of flow.
The use of pipe marking is important to emergency responders who may need to quickly understand the purpose and contents of a piping system in order to assess any potential associated dangers. For instance, flammable materials may need to be evacuated from pipes in case of a fire.
Pipe-marker labels are usually made with a strong material (such as vinyl) that is capable of withstanding the harsh environmental conditions present in many facilities (e.g. moisture or heat) without disintegrating significantly.
Safeopedia Explains Pipe Markers
Pipe-marking requirements are typically subject to labeling standards put forth by recognized testing agencies such as ANSI. Additionally, the UN Globally Harmonized System for Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS) also applies to pipe labeling, and the use of GHS-compliant hazard symbols is a requirement in countries like Canada that have adopted GHS standards for pipe marking into their hazard communication system.
Pipe marking is a basic part of the hazard communication obligations that employers must meet to maintain a safe workplace. OSHA does not have specific pipe-labeling requirements, but it does reference the ANSI/ASME A13.1 consensus standard for pipe marking in the pulp, paper, textile, welding, and cutting industries. Within the context of OSHA’s General Duty Clause, which requires employers to provide a safe workplace for employees, OSHA’s recognition of ANSI A13.1 indicates that compliance with A13.1 would be recognized as sufficient for an employer to meet the General Duty obligations associated with pipe marking.
Other industry-specific pipeline-marking requirements include regulations put forth by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), as well as industry group standards such as the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) standard for medical gas and the ANSI-accredited International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration standard for ammonia refrigeration piping.
ANSI A13.1 prescribes that labels should be placed adjacent to all valves and flanges, all changes in pipe direction, and on every 50 feet of a straight run of pipe (25 feet in congested areas). A13.1 also prescribes a color-coding system for pipes, such as black text on an orange label for toxic and corrosive fluids and black text on a yellow label for flammable fluids.
The size of the label and its text is also dictated under the same standard, and it varies depending on the outer diameter of the pipe. In the United Kingdom, British Standards BS 1710 and 4800 provide the primary government-recognized pipe-labeling norms. Both the BS and ANSI standards are globally recognized standards and form the basis of many pipe-labeling systems in countries that lack their own national standard for pipe labeling.