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Guidance Documents and the Law

03 July 2019

The Combustion Engineering Association (CEA) has developed a library of guidance documents to share members' many years of experience on steam and hot water systems with the wider industrial population who need to work on and manage this equipment. David Kilpatrick, director CEA, provides an overview

We are often asked to confirm; what exactly is Law and what is Guidance?

Our standard response is that if you follow the guidance that is written by experts in the industry you will have probably done enough to comply with the law. 

But it is extremely difficult to be prescriptive about all aspects of any industrial plant whether it be a steam, a hot water system, or a thermal oil system because they are all different. People’s interpretation of the guidance can pose problems and it has been said to us at our conferences and workshops, by many different people, that their boss always says, “we don’t need to follow that because it’s only guidance”? 

A legal view on this is that, ignorance in the eyes of the law is no excuse.

 Wikipedia - Ignorantia juris non excusat or ignorantia legis neminem excusat (Latin for "ignorance of the law excuses not" and "ignorance of law excuses no one" respectively) is a legal principle holding that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because one was unaware of its existence.   

HSE prosecutions in 2017 saw the judiciary levy fines of £69.9m with over 30 in excess of £500,000 and 6% of all prosecutions were immediate custodial sentences with 12% as suspended sentences.  

My question is: “Is it worth taking the risk and playing Russian roulette with your plant by not following the guidance”? ask yourself the question ”do I know more about boiler plant than the collective body of knowledge”? 

A key component of ensuring that you are following the correct path to prevent accidents is to have done risk assessments of your plant, which is a legal requirement under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (MHSWR) 1998.

Creating and using a Technical Boiler House Risk Assessment (TBRA) not a slips trips and falls risk assessment, will help ensure that you have looked at and assessed all aspects of your boiler plant, this should be a team effort and also include your steam system, considering factors in the factory that can affect the boiler plant.

You must by law follow the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations (PSSR) 2000 and a myriad of other regulations that affect the work place such as PUWER 1998, DSEAR, COSHH, GSIUR and others which can all be found in the reference section of BG01 second edition and in the other guidance documents in the BG series.

BG01 – Guidance on safe operation of boilers

Guidance for the Safe Operation of Boilers (Ref: BG01) is a guidance document intended to assist the managers, designers, operators, maintenance personnel and Competent Persons (CP) of new and existing steam boiler systems. Developed and written by the Combustion Engineering Association (CEA) and the Safety Assessment Federation (SAFed) in consultation with other stakeholders within the boiler industry. The revision (Edition 2) incorporates up-to-date information and best practices relating to the operation of steam boiler plant; hot water boilers will now be covered in a separate document (BG02).

BG01 is the first of the guidance documents to help keep you on track and it was written in partnership between the CEA, SAFed and the HSE. BG03 and BG04 followed soon after since 95% of all boiler related accidents and incidents are as a result of bad management of boiler water treatment.

BG02 – Guidance on safe operation of hot water boilers

This first Edition of BG02 incorporates up-to-date information and best practices relating to the operation of hot water boiler plant; steam boilers are covered in a separate document (BG01). The first edition of BG01 included hot water boilers, but in response to feedback from users of the document, this separate guide for hot water boilers was created. Guidance on the Safe Operation of Hot Water Boilers (Ref: BG02) is a guidance document intended to assist the designers, managers, operators, maintenance personnel and Competent Persons (CP) of new and existing low temperature and high temperature industrial shell hot water boiler systems.

 BG03 – Blowdown systems guidance for industrial steam boilers

This comprehensive guide deals with all aspects of steam boiler blowdown for industrial steam boilers and why it is necessary to carry out the function of “blowing down” the boiler. We trust that by studying the contents and following this advice your boiler plant will operate safely and more efficiently and provide you with a trouble-free system.

BG04 – Boiler water treatment guidance for shell boilers, coil boilers, steam generators and hot water boilers 

This comprehensive guide deals with all aspects of water treatment for steam boilers, steam generators and hot water boilers. This document applies to industrial and commercial steam and hot water boiler plant, including steam generators, operating at a working pressure of between 0.5 and 32bar gauge (except where stated) and a working temperature between 110°C and 239°C. We trust that by studying the contents and following the freely given advice your boiler plant will operate safely and more efficiently, and provide you with a trouble-free system.

 BG05 – Guidance on design and operation of biomass systems 

This comprehensive guide concentrates upon the unique issues associated with the design, construction, operation and maintenance of biomass systems. We trust that by studying the contents and following this advice your plant will operate safely and more efficiently and provide you with a trouble-free system. It can aid in informing site / project specific risk assessment.

BG06 - Hot wells and de-aerators 

This comprehensive guide deals with all aspects of feedwater provision for industrial steam boilers (shell boilers) and why it is necessary to carefully manage and control the water that is supplied to the boiler. We trust that by studying the contents and following this advice your boiler plant will operate safely and more efficiently, and provide you with a trouble-free system.

You may find that you need to hire in some temporary boiler plant due to a plant failure or planned outage. This area is fraught with all sorts of risks and BG08 will help you comply with what you need to do to meet the requirements of the law by installing the temporary plant to comply with the PSSR and to include changes to the written Scheme of Examination (WSE) in partnership with the Competent Person (CP).

 BG08 - Temporary steam and hot water boiler plant 

This comprehensive guide deals with all aspects of designing, procuring, installing and operating a temporary steam or hot water boiler installation. We trust that by studying the contents and following this advice your temporary boiler plant will operate safely and more efficiently, and provide you with a trouble-free system.

BG07 for Thermal Oil Boilers Is currently being written

 
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