Boiler Safety

Many types of boilers that are used in commercial and public facilities that produce steam (either low or high pressure), hot water heating for use in comfort air heating systems, and hot water supply for use in domestic water systems (such as showers, sinks, pools, or for miscellaneous use) which includes potable hot water heater type boilers.

Boilers used for hot water supply or potable hot water supply can be further defined in the following two (2) categories:
• A hot water supply boiler means a boiler designed for operation at a pressure not exceeding 160 psig or temperatures not exceeding 250 degrees Fahrenheit at or near the boiler outlet if the boiler’s: heat input exceeds 200,000 BTUs per hour; water temperature exceeds 210 degrees Fahrenheit; or nominal water-containing capacity exceeds 120 gallons.
• A potable water heater means a boiler designed for operation at pressures not exceeding 160 psig and water temperatures not exceeding 210 degrees Fahrenheit if the boiler’s: heat input exceeds 200,000 BTUs per hour or nominal water-containing capacity exceeds 120 gallons.

CAUSES OF BOILER ACCIDENTS

Boiler systems are designed for safety and efficiency. The boiler operator is the key to safe boiler operations. Having knowledge about boiler systems and maintenance can ensure years of safe, reliable service.

History has shown that without proper operation and maintenance, boiler conditions and safety deteriorate causing potential hazards due to neglect and misunderstanding. Routine maintenance is well within the ability of most boiler operators. Boiler tune up and repairs, however, are best left to trained professionals. Understanding when to turn to qualified professionals for assistance is one of the operator’s responsibilities and can save time and money. Some of the areas where trained professionals are needed are:
• Leaking safety and or safety relief valves
• Feed water to boiler
• Steam leaks (steam systems)
• High stack temperatures (excess of 350ºF)
• Insufficient heat for building
• Condensate dripping down stack or out the front of the boiler
• Constantly resetting of controllers and safety devices

Boiler accidents can occur when the boiler is allowed to operate without adequate water in the boiler. Proper functioning low water cutoffs are essential to prevent these types of accidents. Boiler damage can run from severe buckling and deforming of the boiler to complete meltdown or potential boiler explosions.

Another type of boiler accident and the most lethal is excessive pressure. These accidents occur when the boiler can no longer contain the excessive pressure allowed to build in the boiler. Excessive pressure accidents, even in small boilers, have been known to completely destroy a building.

Fuel related accidents usually occur when there is a failure to purge combustible gases from the firebox before ignition is attempted. Leaking fuel valves can also be the cause of these accidents. If the operator notices any gas odor, the boiler should be shut down and the fuel supplier notified immediately.

Never bypass safety devices with jumper wires to restart your boiler. Unintended ignition of unburned combustion gases in the fire box is possible.

All materials in the members area for this topic index

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(1)
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MS-WORD Boiler Safety Program
(1)
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MS-WORD Boiler Operation Safety Safety Topic Fact Sheet

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MS-WORD Boiler Safety Audit Guide
(2)
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MS-WORD Boiler Weekly Monthly Checks Form
MS-WORD Gas Train Checks Form

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(1)
Accident Reports
MS-WORD Boiler And Steam Burn Accident Report
(1)
Management
MS-WORD Boiler Safety Management Safety Brief

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