Boiler & Pressure Vessel Safety
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To help ensure the safety of the citizens of Missouri, the Division of Fire Safety issues approximately 20,000 certificates of inspection each year for boilers and pressure vessels in service throughout the state. An estimated 2,000 of these units are found to be in dangerous condition each year. Division inspectors conduct inspections on uninsured boilers and pressure vessels and provide consultation for the owners and operators of uninsured units. Companies insuring boilers or pressure vessels may conduct inspections at locations they insure.
Effective Nov. 12, 1986, boilers, hot water heaters and pressure vessels are required to be constructed to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Boiler & Pressure Vessel Codes and registered with the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors. There are exemptions due to size and type of facility. For example, residences with fewer than six families are exempted but any common buildings, such as recreation centers or pool heaters, are not exempt.
Boilers and pressure vessels installed prior to Nov. 12, 1986, are exempted from ASME construction requirements but not from the requirements for the controls and safety devices. Used objects may not be reinstalled unless they are ASME constructed and National Board registered. Variances may be obtained but require approval of the Missouri Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Rules, which meets once per quarter.
Installers of all boilers and pressure vessels falling within the scope of the act are required to obtain an installation permit from the Division of Fire Safety prior to beginning the installation.
Certificate inspections are the responsibility of the owner, regardless of contractual agreements. It is a Class A misdemeanor to operate an object without a valid inspection certificate and fines can reach up to $5,000 per day of violation. Boiler and machinery insurance companies may conduct inspections at locations they insure. The certificate inspection frequency varies from one to two years, depending on the use of an object. In general, every object has a two year inspection frequency except boilers that generate steam over 15 pounds per square inch (psi). These objects require a biennial internal inspection of the water side.
- Hot water heaters with heat input greater than 200,000 British thermal units per hour (Btu/hr)
- Hot water heating boilers.
- Steam heating boilers.
- Steam process boilers. This includes steam kettles, laundry boilers, all process boilers, hot oil or other liquid type boilers, power boilers, locomotives (including amusement types), etc.
- Air compressor tanks greater than 10 cubic feet in volume or operating at more than 200 psi.
- Pool heaters with heat input greater than 200,000 Btu/hr.