OSHA and Pipe Labels
By Steve Hudgik
Requirements and Enforcement
During facility inspections, OSHA examines pipe markings and other hazard identification with an eye toward answering three questions:
- Do employees understand potential hazards?
- Do employees know how to avoid hazards?
- Do employees know what to do in the event of an emergency?
OSHA does not, in most cases, mandate specific guidelines for pipe markers. The pulp and paper industry is an exception; OSHA requires pulp and paper plants to follow specific guidelines under 29 CFR 1910.261. OSHA focuses more on the results of a pipe marking program which is increased safety. Pipe labels should contain all the information employees need in order to make intelligent decisions regarding the contents of a pipe or conduit.
For most plants, OSHA's pipe marking requirements will be met by compliance with ANSI / ASME A13.1. OSHA does not mandate the use of this consensual industry standard, but it provides a simple, clear, and consistent system for labeling pipes. Failing to following ANSI / ASME A13.1 (which allows variations from the standard, as long as they are established in writing) can result in OSHA citations under the General Duty Clause.
Pipe marker labels indicate which pipelines are dangerous, direction of flow, and pipe contents.
ANSI/ASME A13.1 Standard Label Colors