Great Pipe Marking Examples

To improve communication, safety and efficiency in workplaces that contain many pipes, using a pipe marking system can be very helpful. Standard pipe labels can quickly convey information about what’s inside a pipe and where it’s traveling.

The industry consensus standard for pipe marking is ANSI/ASME A13.1, which offers guidelines for color schemes, sizes and locations of pipe labels.

The color guidelines specify what colors should be used for six main types of pipe contents. The labels must use white text or black text, depending on the background color (see the chart below). There are also four additional colors that can be used at a facility’s discretion.

Pipe Labeling Colors

The size of pipe labels depends on the size of your pipes. The larger the pipe, the larger the label—and the text on the label—needs to be. Required sizes range from eight to 32 inches in length (for the whole label) with a letter height between half an inch and three-and-a-half inches, depending on the diameter of the pipe. Consult this free guide for more detailed measurement information.

Finally, labels must be placed in four main locations:

  1. On straight runs, at 25 to 50-foot intervals
  2. At locations where a pipe’s direction changes
  3. At entry points through walls and floors (on both sides)
  4. Next to flanges and valves

The labels should also be placed on the pipes at locations that are easy to read. For example, if a pipe is located on the floor, placing the label above the pipe’s centerline (closer to the top of the pipe) would make it more visible to those standing in the area.

Now, let’s take a look at some examples of pipe marking labels that achieve what they need to.

Pipe Marking, Pipe Labels

In the photo above, a standard, ANSI-compliant label is used to mark a pipe that carries compressed air. The prescribed blue background with white text is used and the text itself is sufficiently large to be seen from a distance. Arrows even point in the direction the air flows.

This label has been applied to a pipe wrap, but the wrap is not required (this facility may have found it easier to apply the label to a wrap than directly to the pipe).

Pipe Marking, Pipe Labels

This red and white label communicates the fact that this large, orange pipe contains fire protection water, which can be critical information for emergency responders during an incident. A large pipe like this needs to have a label at least 32 inches in length with three-and-a-half inch lettering, which looks to be the case here.

Also worth nothing is the placement of this label; it’s located where a pipe turns and then merges with another pipe. Whenever a pipe changes direction like this, a label is needed.

Pipe Marking, Pipe Labels

The yellow and black labels on these four pipes indicate that flammable materials travel through the pipes. These substances can be hazardous, so using easily recognizable colors for hazards is important in this location. The labels also use bold text and directional arrows, so anyone working in the area can easily tell what is in the pipes.

Placing labels like these at eye level will also help ensure people can easily read them. While we can’t be positive these labels are at eye level because of the frame of the photo, it’s worth noting that you should always think about where labels will be most visible.

Pipe Marking, Pipe Labels

ANSI specifies that facilities should place pipe labels next to all valves and flanges, as can be seen in this photo. This facility also added additional directional arrows after the branch in the pipe to clarify the direction the water flows.

This example also reinforces the importance of using a large label with large text on pipes like this one with a large diameter.

Pipe Marking, Pipe Labels

These sections of straight pipes show how to label long sections of pipe that don’t turn. These sections need to be labeled every 25 to 50 feet.

In this case, the facility did a good job of selecting where on the pipes to place the labels. These pipe markings are placed slightly below each pipe’s centerline so workers on the facility floor can easily look up and read them. If the labels were placed any higher, it would be difficult to read them from the ground, and if they were placed on the bottom of the pipes, anyone who isn’t standing directly below would struggle to read them.

Follow the Guidelines, But Consider the Context

It’s important to follow ANSI/ASME guidelines for pipe marking, but you should always do so within the context of your facility. Perhaps your workspace would be easier for employees to navigate if labels were placed at more frequent intervals on straight runs or if the text were larger. Maybe one of the optional colors like purple or white would be helpful. Create a system that is effective for your business and that will provide employees the information they need to know in the locations where they work.

If you need to print lots of pipe labels, also consider making them yourself with an industrial label printer. Learn more about pipe marking in the SlideShare below.

Pipe Marking 101 by Creative Safety Supply from Creative Safety Supply

10 Safety Signs to Improve Your Workplace

safety sign, hazard

Are you updating your facility’s safety signs? Taking a sign inventory to make sure you’re OSHA compliant? Adding new signs for clarity? In any of these cases, it’s important to consider what signs will help keep your facility’s operations moving smoothly and keep employees safe. The number and type of signs you’ll want to include in your workplace obviously depends on your industry and your company’s size, but some basic kinds of signs will be beneficial for almost any workplace. This article will walk through a typical facility and look at 10 common signs that would make operations easier and safer.

1. Signs to Direct Foot Traffic

industrial floor tape

Begin by walking through your facility the way an employee would. Enter through an employee entrance and head to the break room, lockers or time clock – wherever your employees go first. Then proceed to the work floor like an employee. Are there signs pointing people in the right direction and helping them do so safely? Maybe these sorts of things seem self-explanatory, but to new employees, temporary employees and visitors, entrance and exit signs, arrows and labeled pedestrian walkways can be very helpful. Once inside the workspace, it’s possible employees will encounter obstacles like vehicles, machinery or tall shelves that block the view. Pointing people in the right direction with signs will keep them out of the way, eliminate confusion and save time; if an employee can easily read where pedestrians are allowed to walk or how to find the bathroom, they won’t have to waste time asking for help.

2. Signs for Drivers

safety sign, traffic sign

Similar to the way well-marked pedestrian areas can make for ease of movement, clearly labeled vehicle pathways will help drivers move about easily and safely. Signs directing traffic—such as speed limit signs, arrows and colored floor tape—can create well-functioning vehicle “roadways”. Look around and think of your workplace as a small street or highway system. Everyone needs to get where they need to go as quickly and safely as possible. Provide signs that will help accomplish this task.

3. PPE Signs

PPE, floor sign

Next, consider what tasks an employee will be performing. Approach machines or other workspaces. What signs do you see in these areas related to personal protective equipment (PPE)? Many tasks in industrial, manufacturing work settings require PPE for workers to safely complete tasks. This could mean wearing ear protection if equipment is noisy, goggles if liquids or dust could get into someone’s eyes or flame-resistant clothing if any chemical or procedure poses a fire hazard. Post signs in these areas alerting employees to these requirements.

Hazard Signs

In conjunction with those PPE signs, you’ll most likely need some signs alerting employees to the corresponding hazards, too. OSHA and the American National Standards Institute (ASNI) list four types of hazard levels, which they call alert signal words. These four categories of hazard help you as a safety manager determine what types of signs you’ll need in your facility.

4. Danger

hazard sign, safety sign

The highest level of hazard alert is marked by a Danger sign, which can be used for a wide variety of hazards. A Danger sign might alert employees to the possibility of an arc flash or exposure to a poison, explosive or hazardous waste. A Danger sign means that should a hazardous situation arise, the result could be death or serious injury. Look around your facility for machinery or hazardous substances that could pose these kinds of threats. Then consider where to place a Danger sign so it will be most noticeable to anyone working in the area.

5. Warning

hazard sign, safety sign

Warning signs indicate a slightly smaller level of risk, but still highlight that a serious injury or death is possible in a given area. Examples of common warning signs include alerts about flammability, moving parts of machines, dangers of smoking in a certain location and the possibility of falling objects. Warning signs apply in many different circumstances, so consider the level of caution you want your employees to take in a particular area.

6. Caution

hazard sign, safety sign

Keep walking around and surveying hazardous areas in your facility. Have you covered the most dangerous areas and identified locations for Danger and Warning signs? Good. Now think about areas that are less dangerous, but where you still want employees to be alert to potential risks. For these situations, it’s best to use a Caution sign. This alert signal word indicates injury or harm is possible, but may be less severe than in more hazardous areas. You’ve surely seen Caution signs in all sorts of everyday scenarios—“Caution: Wet Floor;” “Caution: Merging Traffic”—and they can serve all sorts of purposes in your facility. For example, if there’s a place in your warehouse where pedestrian traffic and forklift traffic cross, you might post a sign alerting people on foot to the presence of forklifts. This type of sign is simple and effective.

7. Notice

safety sign

Now that you’ve inspected all hazardous areas surrounding employee workspaces, is there anything else employees need to know to do their jobs properly? If so, select a Notice sign, which can list anything from further instructions for using a piece of equipment to simple statements like “No Food or Drink.” These types of signs will help standardize rules and procedures in your facility, and in many cases they will also help ensure safety. Maybe keeping food out of an area seems most important because it will prevent messes, but it’s possible food could at some point pose a risk. An employee might be distracted while eating on the job or could drop food in a sensitive area.

Creative Safety Supply

8. Emergency Equipment Signs

safety sign, emergency equipment

Now that you have most job-related areas labeled, consider what would happen if one of these hazards we mentioned actually turned into a dangerous situation. Would employees know what to do? To ensure your workers remember what steps to take, post signs for emergency equipment in very visible spots. Look around and see where signs would be most easily seen. These signs include things like eyewash stations, fire extinguishers, first aid kits and AEDs. You don’t want anyone to spend extra time looking for these things during an emergency, so label them ahead of time.

9. Evacuation Signs

safety sign

After assessing signs for emergency equipment, look up and see if you can locate emergency exit signs. These are some of the most basic signs that need to be present in any workplace, so you probably have them already. Do consider, though, how visible they are, where they’re placed—The floor? The ceiling? At eye level?—and whether workers could see them in the event of a fire or power outage. Glow-in-the-dark exit signs are a great option to help in these sorts of unexpected situations.

10. Storage Labels

safety label, organizational label

By now, you should have a good sense of your facility’s instructional, traffic, hazard and emergency signs. The last type of sign you’ll want to consider relates to what happens at the end of a shift. So look around one last time: where are materials stored in your facility? If an employee arrives at work and gets out certain tools, protective gear or chemicals, are there established procedures for keeping those items clean and organized? Signs can label where storage areas are located, where specific items should be placed and when employees should clean items or inspect them for damage or wear and tear. Having a system in place for storing supplies will not only make the workplace cleaner and more efficient, it will also keep it safe. A disorganized storage area can lead to tripping or to items falling off shelves. Those types of accidents don’t need to happen, and some simple signs can help ensure they rarely do.