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Valve Tags: Frequently Asked Questions


Valve tags are mainly used by employees for the identification of valves and site safety. Just by looking at the color, shape, number, or information printed on the tag, an emergency responder, contractor, or maintenance professional identifies what the valve controls. They are used in plumbing systems, hydraulic systems, pressure boilers, gas systems, hazardous chemical systems, sprinkler systems, or any other system consisting of valves. Not just valves, valve tags are also used for actuators, transmitters, and instruments. Tags may include a number, code, text, or barcode that can be used to get more information on a valve tag chart or computer system. Valve tags prevent human error and ensure safety by minimizing the risk of spill, leakage, or accident.

Check valve tags video on its various kinds and applications.

Valve tag placement is very important for a facility’s safety. Place the valve tags at conspicuous positions where workers will clearly see them before taking any action on the valve. Valve tags must be placed next to all valves and flanges. Valve tags only go on or near the valves themselves, not along the pipes. Valves must never be attached to valve handles or wheels. Tags for valve components should be permanently attached to the components, e.g., attached to the valve yoke, not to a removable part) in a way that will not interfere with the normal operational use or testing of the component. Mostly plastic or metal ties, hooks, or chains are used to attach tags to the valves.

No, they are different. A pipe label is applied directly to a pipe to identify pipe contents like Water, Steam, Natural Gas, Oxygen, etc. Pipe markers also indicate the direction in which the pipe content is flowing. These labels may also include details about potential hazards associated with the chemical and much more.

On the other hand, Valve tags are non-adhesive, made of metal, plastic, paper, cardboard, or wood. These tags are usually smaller than a pipe marker and contain less information like just a number and abbreviation for the type of valve like HVAC (Heat Vent Air Conditioning), HWR (Hot Water Return), SPR (Sprinkler), and more.


Shut Off tags are also valve tags that identify the location of shut-off valves in a system. While they are majorly used for water main shut-off valves, shut-off tags can also be used for gas, fuel electrical, steam, etc. Identifying shut-off valves is very important because they allow for easier servicing of equipment without affecting the rest of the system during equipment failure or general maintenance. Locating and tagging utility shut-off valves is very important to prevent leakage or spill until help arrives. Shut-off tags are useful in multi-story buildings where multiple valves are there for each floor or each house.

Valve tags can significantly improve the safety of any property by providing important valve information. Facilities can suffer quite a lot of damage if a wrong valve is opened or closed accidentally. Properly using valve tags can significantly reduce the risk of spills, accidents, and injuries in a facility. Maintenance professionals and technicians refer to valve tags for exact information about the valve or pipe. Tags ensure nobody accidentally opens the wrong tag.
Industrial valves that control large amounts of water or transport any type of hazardous liquid or gas, acids, toxic chemicals, or steam need valve tags. However, valve tags are not as important for standard valves such as those that feed into a sink, toilet, or other types of equipment.

The ANSI/ASME A13.1 specifies six standard color combinations and four user-defined colors. The six standard colors identify types of pipe contents while user-defined colors must be defined by individual facilities using the standard, and the definitions shall be documented and workers must be trained accordingly.

  1. Fire-quenching fluids - White text on a red background
  2. Toxic or corrosive fluids - Black text on orange background
  3. Flammable or oxidizing fluids - Black text on yellow background
  4. Combustible fluids - White text on brown background
  5. Other water - White text on green background
  6. Compressed air or other gases - White text on blue background
  1. User-defined - White text on purple background
  2. User-defined - Black text on white background
  3. User-defined - White text on gray background
  4. User-defined - White text on black background

If maintenance or repair work is going on around a machine supplied with hazardous substances, valves are present to control the supply. These valves must be locked out and tagged out for safety and accident prevention. Proper valve tags ensure that the valves are not operated while maintenance activity is underway. Sometimes, the tag is even attached to a lock that makes it physically impossible for the valve to be opened until it is released.

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