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8/1/2014 ANSI Color Codes

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ANSI Color Codes
Why are the ANSI color codes important? What does the yellow background mean?
The yellow background signifies that the piping may handle hazardous material.
Unfortunately, much has changed in the typical plant over the last 70 years since this
standard was originally conceived. The basic standard can be traced to the 1920's and use in
the US military. Obviously, our definitions for what is "hazardous" has changed. Water, air or
carbon dioxide, under certain situations (pressure, heat, mixture with other chemicals) are
not always benign. How do we interpret, for example, materials that should be used for "fire
quenching" that are also "hazardous"? Should we use the red or the yellow ANSI scheme?
Or, how do we label a pipe that carries both the liquid (which should be green) and gas form
of a chemical (which should be blue)?
Hazards, in other words, are not so easily defined. "Hazardous" may mean that the material
is hazardous to a person nearby, or to the operation of the overall plant itself. Could
"hazardous" mean that the materials flowing through the process piping, if not handled
carefully, could contaminate the product. Or, if leaked into the atmosphere, could the
chemical infect the environment or cause damage to employees after cumulative exposure
over a period of years? Clearly, the ANSI standard was written for far simpler times.
Color Std Meaning Example
Red APWA
Electric Power Lines, Cables, Conduit
and Lighting Cables
Buried High Voltage Line
Yellow APWA
Gas, Oil, Steam, Petroleum or
Gaseous Materials
Natural Gas Distribution
Line
Orange APWA
Communication, Alarm or Signal
Lines, Cables or Conduit
Buried Fiber Optic Cable
Blue APWA Water, Irrigation and Slurry Lines Buried Water Line
Green APWA Sewers, Drain Line Buried Storm Sewer Line
Red Traffic Prohibition STOP, Yield
Orange Traffic Temporary Work Zone Construction Zone Ahead
Yellow Traffic Caution Merge Ahead, Slow
Blue Traffic Information Signs Hospital
Brown Traffic Historical or Park Picnic Area Ahead
Green Traffic Directional Signs Exit 1 Mile, Go
Red
ANSI
Sign
Danger Signs, Highest Hazard
Hazardous Voltage Will
Cause Death
Orange
ANSI
Sign
Warning Signs, Medium Hazard
Hazardous Voltage May
Cause Death
Yellow
ANSI
Sign
Caution Signs, Lowest Hazard
Turn Machine Off When
Not In Use
Blue
ANSI
Sign
Notice Signs Employees Only
Green
ANSI
Safety First Signs Wear Ear Plugs
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Sign
Red
ANSI
Pipe
Fire Quenching Materials Fire Protection Water
Yellow
ANSI
Pipe
Materials Inherently Hazardous Chlorine
Blue
ANSI
Pipe
Materials of Inherently Low Hazard,
Gas
Compressed Air
Green
ANSI
Pipe
Materials of Inherently Low Hazard,
Liquid
Storm Drain
Blue/Red/Yellow
NFPA
701
Blue is used for Health Hazards, Red for Flammability and
Yellow for reactivity
Variations in color-coding standards are inevitable in our complex plant and pluralistic
society. While laudable, harmonization of color-codes, then, will be very difficult to achieve.
Many plants use other color-coding; for example, color-code each system (i.e. Lube Oil is
brown, Condensate is green, etc.>) or color code by Unit (i.e. Unit 1 is yellow, Unit 2 is blue,
etc.). For most plants, we recommend either the ANSI pipe marker color codes or simply
black on yellow markers. For more complex plants, we recommend a color-coding by
system. For all environments, we recommend the inclusion of RTK information on the valve or
on the pipe.
ANSI Color Code for Thermocouple and Thermocouple Extension Wire
ANSI
Symbol Wire Alloys Polarity
Thermocouple Wire
Color
T/C Extension Wire
Color
Individual Jacket Individual Jacket
J
Iron
Constantan(TM)
+JP
-JN
White
Red
Brown
White
Red
Black
K
CHROMEL*
ALUMEL*
+KP
-KN
Yellow
Red
Brown
Yellow
Red
Yellow
T
Copper
Constantan(TM)
+TP
-TN
Blue
Red
Brown
Blue
Red
Blue
E
CHROMEL*
Constantan(TM)
+EP
-EN
Purple
Red
Brown
Purple
Red
Purple
N
Nicrosil(TM)
Nisil(TM)
+NP
-NN
Orange
Red
Brown
Orange
Red
Orange
RSX
Copper
Copper Alloy
+RSP
-RSN
- -
Black
Red
Green
BX
PCLW630/Copper
Copper
+BP
-BN
- -
Grey
Red
Grey
W3X
W5X
Alloy 203; Alloy 405
Alloy 225; Alloy 426
+WP
-WN
- -
White/Red
Red
White/Red
* CHROMEL and ALUMEL are regi stered rademarks of Hoski ns Manufacturi ng Company. PMC Corporati on reserves the
ri ght to substi tute equi val ent product to CHROMEL and ALUMEL at any ti me.
For addi ti onal i nformati on see Bare Wi re Data Sheet
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