Pipe Marking Information
Within manufacturing facilities or warehouses, different kinds of liquids, gases, and emissions are transported throughout the building via a labyrinthine network of pipes, and the obvious need to differentiate one material from another is vital to maintenance and service efforts. Pipe marking labels are the most efficient means to do this, and their effectiveness is so simple because of the quick-reference quality of color-coded pipes with clear, concise labeling text and graphics that can be easily and clearly identified at a distance. As shown in the diagram below, pipes are often at an unreachable height from workers and repair persons, so there are different size requirements for each pipe diameter. The larger the pipe, the larger the pipe markers needed.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), in an attempt to unify their safe workplace goals, merged their pipe marker recommendations into the ANSI/ASME 13.1 by offering a universal pipe labeling standard, and color-coded classifications for the three basic hazard categories. These standards are referenced when OSHA does an assessment following facility inspections, and are expected to be followed to the best of a facility's safety precautions and due diligence.
In order to properly comply with pipe-marking safety standards, it is logical to assume that a company must know the precise contents of their pipes. This can be achieved by using a blueprint or plumbing index to identify the pipes in a facility, and effectively mark those pipe permanently with the appropriate ID, coded to reflect its hazard class.
In order to properly label pipes, standards that are universal need to be accepted by everyone in the industry. Fortunately, according to the basic ANSI/ASME 13.1 hazard standards, materials being carried in above-ground pipes can be separated into the following 3 distinct hazard classes:
- high hazard - high-temperature, flammable, high-pressure, caustic or corrosive chemicals, toxic materials, radioactive materials, or anything that can do significant damage to a person, area, or materials.
- low hazard - materials that are not inherently toxic, flammable, or harmful to people or the environment, nor are at high pressure or high temperature.
- fire suppression - fire extinguishing foam, CO2, water, and/or halomethane (another fire extinguishing material).