Does OSHA regulate pipe marking?

This is an interesting question, and not quite as straightforward as it would seem. OSHA hasn’t ever come up with their own set of pipe marking or labeling requirements that they require companies to follow. That being said, however, they have included pipe marking requirements in their General Duty Clause. The General Duty Clause is where they have listed a number of safety requirements that employers must provide to ensure a safe work environment.

The pipe marking requirements they have listed in this clause are simply the set of standards given by ANSI/ASME A13.1. These were pipe marking recommendations that are used in workplaces around the world (often under different country names), and have been widely recognized as the best way to ensure safety in the workplace.

What is ANSI/AMSE?

ANSI is the American National Standards Institute, and ASME is the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Both of these are private, non-profit organizations based in the United States. Their goal is to help companies follow voluntary standards in the engineering industry. While they are primarily concerned with the engineering industry, their standards for pipe markings (and many other things) have actually been adopted across many other industries due to their proven benefits.

Since ANSI/AMSE standards come from a private company, companies were not required to follow them under the law. OSHA adding them into their General Duty Clause has made them requirements in many industries. Whether a particular company falls under the OSHA regulations in this particular case or not, however, it just makes sense to comply with the standards that are listed given that they offer such significant benefits, and cost so little.

Complying with OSHA Regulations

In order to comply with the pipe marking regulations adopted by OSHA and developed by ANSI/AMSE it is necessary to have access to good quality pipe labels. There are a number of different options for this including heat shrink labels, and traditional labels that can be printed and applied directly to pipes. Choosing the right labels for the specific pipes they will be used on is very important.

Make sure the labels will be able to stick to a clean surface, and that the labels themselves are positioned in such a way as to ensure they are easily readable. Beyond that, simply follow the placement and other requirements as outlined by ANSI/AMSE and remaining in compliance with OSHA regulations won’t be a problem.


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