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Draft 11 28 2011

Boiler Safety

John Newquist

$1.6 million settlement reached in

boiler explosion
Daniel J. Quaintance, 56, of Appleton was following
directions from a technician employed by the service
company, when the boiler exploded
Quaintance suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as
extreme blood loss, numerous broken bones in his face,
respiratory failure, eye damage, hearing loss and some
facial nerve damage, according to his lawyers. After the
explosion, he was airlifted to Theda Clark Medical Center
in Neenah, where he was hospitalized for more than a
month, his lawyers said.

Over hundred of
boiler explosion and
fires in the last ten
These are pressure
People assigned to
operate and
maintain the boilers
have little or no
boiler safety training.

Ford River Rouge Power Plant

Dearborn , MI
General Duty egregious,
Natural gas boiler
explosion triggered
secondary coal dust
explosion that had
accumulated on building
and equipment surfaces
No flame sensing
interlock for the gas lines

Six people died and

another 30 were injured

Injury Prevention Basics

Management Leadership
Employee Participation
Hazard Prevention and
Education and Training
Program Evaluation and
Communication and
coordination on multiemployer sites

These principles are

adopted and
recognized by

2100 VPP Companies

1600 SHARPs
1926.20, 1926.21
ANSI Z9.10
OHSAS 18001
States AR, CA, LA,

Top Five Accident Causation


Carbon Monoxide


Plant history of fires

Boiler logs
Operating manual?
Maintenance manual?
Repair History

Take Photos
Interviews Boiler
Maintenance Technician,
Maintenance Supervisor.

Boiler Log
The boiler room log
lists boiler
operation data that
can be used to
increase boiler
safety and
efficiency as well
as identifying a

Warning Signs
All boilers that are required
to have operating
certificates shall have a
nameplate attached. The
nameplate shall have the
appropriate ASME Code
symbol, the allowable
working pressure, date of
manufacture, and the
minimum relief valve

Regular service
should be
performed on
schedule and
Operating records
and inspection
records should be
reviewed regularly
to ensure

Water and scale
buildup on floor
indicates the relief
valve might have
been leaking past
seat for some time.
This valve should be
replaced as soon as
possible as it could
scale up and become

Backflow Preventer
Back flow preventer
showing scale buildup
on drain opening.
This indicates the
back flow preventer
needs to be tested for
proper operation.

Relief Valve Test

Relief valves are
routinely tested to
ensure proper operation
and must be serviced
by an authorized

Manual Test of Relief Valve

The manual test lever
on the relief valve
should be lifted on a
regular basis to
determine the valve is
functioning properly.
The pressure in the
boiler should be at
least 75% of the set
pressure of the relief

Low Water Cutoff Valve

This device detects if the water level within your boiler has dropped
below the manufacturers recommended level. Should this occur, the
low water cutoff will do just as its name implies. It will cut-off the
burner and shut the boiler down.

Without a properly
functioning low water
cutoff, the burner can
continue to fire allowing
for intense heat to build.
The results can be
catastrophic explosions, fires and the
possibility of severe
injuries to personnel and
This must be a regular
boiler test per the

Water Level
The Normal
Operating Water
Level (NOWL)
should be
approximately in
the middle of the
gauge glass.

The water column is
blown down first and
then the gauge glass
to remove any
sediment. Water
should enter the gauge
glass quickly when the
gauge glass blowdown
valve is closed.

Another Accident
"The fines reflect the company's failure to establish
procedures for a restart of the recovery boiler without the
power boiler being on-line," said Clyde Payne, OSHA's
area director in Jackson, Miss. "Employees were
exposed to a fire and explosion because the employer
failed to develop written boiler setup and operating
23 employees were injured, one fatally.
The willful violation is for failing to start the recovery
boiler without adequate steam and not developing safe
procedures to start up the recovery boiler when the
overhead doors were
primary power boiler is off-line. Several
blown off, and one of
these struck 4 employees,
injuring them.

Boiler Restarting
Many accidents during
this process
Exact Start up
Trained Operators
Knowledge of what to do
if there is a problem.

Employee #1 and a coworker were

assigned to light a boiler with a
series of three pilot lights. They
found the gas valve already in the
open position. Employee #1 tried
to light the third pilot light, which
was out of sequence with the
lighting directions on the metal
plate located on the front of the
Peerless low pressure boiler.
When the third pilot light would not
ignite, Employee #1 went to the
first pilot light and attempted to
light it when an explosion
occurred. Employee #1 and the
coworker were blown
approximately 10 ft away.

Boiler Fall

Many falls occur due to work on boilers.

Scaffold (10)
Boiler Supports/Platform (6)
Ladder (4)
Floor Opening (4)
Unknown Platform (3)
Aerial lift (2)
Metal Grate Failure
Tripped over Boiler piping
Cheater Bar slipped and fall backwards

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide is colorless, odorless.

Buy a Carbon Monoxide detector to alert of high levels.
Dampers in building partially closed was one cause.
Flue exhaust from Boiler has CO another. Also.
Defective exhaust system for one of the boilers
Plastic covered chimney.
Downdraft had high CO
Working in a kiln that was heated by steam from a directfired boiler that vented its combustion products with the
steam it generated
Many more.

Fly Ash
Fly Ash poses an
engulfment and a burn
Develop a cleaning AND
unclogging procedure.
Provided a PPE hazard
analysis 1910.132 (d)
Guard against
mechanical hazards.

Four employees were

working at an electric
utility facility. Two of the
employees were engulfed
and burned by a
spontaneous release of
hot fly ash from a boiler.
One employee was killed,
and the other was
hospitalized for his

Confined Space
inside or

Typical 5(a)(1) Violations

Not testing Relief Valves

No written operating
No daily maintenance
Unprotected steam piping
No record of Blowdowns
Boiler Maintenance Employees
not trained
No record of all irregular
events and repairs in operation
of the boiler

Inadequate Power pining

inspection program
Nondestructive testing
personnel not ANST qualified
Defective controllers, gages
etc on boilers.
Equipment downstream of
Boiler not rated for output
pressure of the steam.
Boiler Natural gas not odorized
Power piping not inspected
Boiler not installed correctly
And Many more

Non Destructive Testing (NDT)

Use ANST qualified inspectors for NDT.
Use NDT Techniques like inspection of
deposits in tubes of different sections,
hardness testing, dye penetrate and
ultrasonic testing of weld joints.

2007 ASME Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code, VII,
Division 1, rules for Construction of Pressure Vessels,
section UG-125 General.
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
Code for Pressure Piping, Standard B31.1 2007 Power
Piping, Appendix IV Corrosion Control for ASME B31.1
Power Piping Systems,

ANSI/NB-23, ASME Section 7 Care of Power

Boilers and guidance from Electric Power
Research Institute

The Future
Some Inspection
Less explosions
More eyes and awareness insurance,
S&H professionals, media, bloggers,
Debate on a standard
More Employer Self-assessment

This was prepared as a collaborative effort several
friends as a preliminary aid for anyone in the inspecting
These are just some the issues. A comprehensive job
hazard analysis should be conducted for any task where
someone can get hurt.
This is not an official OSHA publication. Those will be on
the website. or is
my email if you see any errors
I want to thank Janet S. for all their assistance in
answering questions and providing insight to the many
hazards in this sector.