What does a blue pipe label mean?

Blue pipe labels are associated with compressed air, and in some cases compressed steam. Sticking to the ANSI/ASME A13.1 pipe marking standard is essential to not only stay in compliance with OSHA but to also keep employees safe from the hazards that are contained in piping systems.

Working around compressed air requires employee training and an awareness of the consequences of accidents or if employees are engaging in horseplay with compressed air. Many may not even know the dangers that it holds, which is why education is so important. There are quite a few dangers associated with compressed air, these include:

  • If compressed air is blown into the mouth, the victim can rupture their lungs, stomach, or intestines.
  • Compressed air has the ability to enter the bloodstream and cause a gas embolism, which is when a gas bubble blocks the pathway of a blood vessel. If the gas bubble reaches the heart or brain it can be fatal.
  • Compressed air has the ability to enter the navel and inflate/rupture the intestines. This can occur even if the victim is wearing clothing.
  • Compressed air can rupture eardrums.
  • 12psi has the ability to pop eyes out of their sockets.

Some facilities use compressed air to clean dust and debris off of workers and equipment. As can be seen from above, this action can be incredibly dangerous if done incorrectly. In OSHA’s regulation 1910.242 “Hand and Portable Powered Tools and Other Hand-Held Equipment,” the rules require that if employers use compressed air for cleaning, the psi must be less than 30 with chip guarding and employees must use personal protective equipment. By not following this regulation, employees have the potential to be severely injured or even die from improper use of compressed air.


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