When are valve tags used?

Valve tags are a simple form of visual communication that can, and should, be used in almost every facility. They are attached to a valve on a pipe to provide some type of information to those who are working in the area. The information they provide can range anywhere from a simple number that identifies which valve it is on a blueprint all the way up to details about what the valve is used for, when it should be opened, and more. Understanding when to use valve tags is an important part of any safety manager’s job.

All Valves Can Have Valve Tags

While not strictly necessary based on OSHA and other regulations, it is certainly a good idea to apply a tag to every valve in a facility. Valve tags are easy to use, very inexpensive, and don’t take long to install. By making sure that every valve in the facility is tagged, everyone will be able to quickly identify the necessary information before adjusting it. In addition, when all valves are tagged it will be much more obvious if one of the tags somehow falls off or gets improperly removed.

Pipes with Hazardous Solutions

Any pipe that is used to transport hazardous solutions such as acids, toxic chemicals, steam, and more should be clearly tagged. In many industries, this will be a requirement in order to maintain a safe work environment. The tag should make it easy for anyone to tell exactly what is in the pipe. Ideally, it should also identify how to respond to a spill or accidental exposure to the solution within.

Lockout Tagout

While the lockout/tagout system is primarily used for electrical safety, it can also be implemented on valves. If someone needs to do work in or around a machine that uses hazardous fluids, it is important to ensure the valve releasing them is not opened while the person is in the area. To prevent this, valve tags can be placed alerting people that someone is in the area. When done properly, the tag will attach to a lock that makes it physically impossible for the valve to be opened until it is released.

Each Facility is Unique

Of course, every facility is unique and will have a different set of requirements when it comes to valve tags. Walking through the area to identify potential areas where valve tags can improve safety is an important part of the jobsite safety manager’s role.


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