In order to make sure you have a safe and comfortable building it is important to make sure you properly check your boiler room and follow a boiler room safety guide to help identify all the areas needing attention. A boiler room operator is responsible for following procedures to prevent accidents, fires and explosions. It is a very important role as the wellbeing of the plant rests upon the smooth running of the boilers.
The boiler room operator has to be specially trained to be aware of many regulations and safety features of the area. They need to be knowledgeable in a variety of topics such as gas safe flue regulations, boiler certification, boiler installation regulations and flue regulations for gas boilers. As well as all this they need look after all aspects of the building from the boiler room safety equipment, to the boiler room doors. All of this will need to be recorded in maintenance log books.
The most important aspect of the operator’s job though is to make sure they follow a boiler room safety guide to protect all the people in the plant and to ensure the safe and efficient use of the boiler. This will prevent a potential boiler room explosion and give advice on what do in the event of an emergency in the boiler room.
In order to prevent accidents and fires the boiler room operator must understand what can cause, sustain and stop any of these incidents occurring. Every plant and boiler room will have its own set of emergency procedures that need to be followed and adhered to.
The below boiler room safety guide gives some basic safety rules for the operator to follow and are common in all boiler rooms regardless of size.
- Wear the supplied and approved clothing and shoes in the plant at all times.
- Take advantage of your insurance company offering an inspection service to allow a second pair of eyes to check over any hazards.
- Combustible material or fuel is the main component in starting and sustaining a fire. For this reason all oil rags, waste and combustible material must be stored in the correct safety containers and any unstable liquids in safety cans. If there is any spillage then it must be cleaned immediately using the correct products and any waste disposed of correctly.
- The operator must know the location of the safety valves in the boiler and check these regularly to make sure they are in working order.
- Know how to fill out an accident report. Key information includes: date, time and where the accident occurred, name of injured person and the immediate supervisor, what was the injury and what was happening to cause the accident. Regardless of the nature of the accident it must be recorded.
- The boiler operator should be aware of where all the fire extinguishers are in the boiler room and in the plant and which should be used for different types of fires. These should be checked regularly and details logged.
- The boiler operator must be aware of the different types of fire classes. Class A is fires that burn material containing carbon, wood, paper and textiles. Class B is fire that burns oil, gas and grease. Class C is electrical, motor or transformer fires.
- Appropriate safety equipment should be worn. This includes googles and respirators for cleaning, gloves when handling any hot lines and hand shields when inspecting the furnace fire.
- Hard hats must be worn when moving around in the boiler room and where there is any risk of overhead fixtures falling. Appropriate steel toe capped boots must also be worn to protect feet from being crushed by any heavy equipment.
- Do not use hands to stop moving equipment. Always shut down and secure any equipment that needs to be examined or worked on.
- Equipment such as ladders should be properly stored away and checked for wear and tear. If there is an risk of them being unstable they should not be used and replaced. Do not try and use equipment that is not fit or mean for its purpose.
- Tools should be looked after and accounted for. They should be stored in the correct manor and carried in boxes and not in pockets. They should not be left lying around and replaced if not working properly.
- If you need to remove a boiler battery for cleaning and inspection then secure the steam stop valves, feed water and bottom blowdown valves.
- If you need to check, replace or clean any equipment then make sure it is clearly tagged and secured before touching it. Always check it has been correctly shut down and ready to be handled before starting any work on it.
- Make sure the equipment has been secured and tagged out before attempting to clean or repair. Make sure you precheck the equipment is replaced correctly before restarting.
- If you need to work in any water drums or steam rooms then use a low voltage drop light at all times.
- In the event of an emergency please calmly make your way out of the building and don’t run. The boiler operator must act quickly and assess the situation before deciding what course of action to take.
- Live equipment must only be touched or worked on in the event of extreme emergencies where there is no other options.
- Any unsafe conditions or issues must be reported to the immediate supervisor and recorded in the log book.
- These basic safety rules should apply to all boiler rooms but more specific safety requirements of each plant should be explained to the boiler operator and relevant training given.
The above guide is not a replacement for proper training and qualifications in dealing with boiler safety and emergency procedures. This is a helpful step by step guide to help promote safety and awareness of the role of a boiler safety operator.
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