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Using steam boilers safely

Steam boilers are specialist and complex pieces of hire equipment, requiring a methodical approach to installation to ensure that high standards of safety are maintained both during the installation procedure and while the boiler is operational during the hire period.

What many of those hiring a steam boiler don’t realise is that, although the hire specialist will deliver and commission the boiler, it will not usually be responsible for its installation. That’s why Watkins Hire provides steam boiler clients with a best practice installation guide.

Safe installation of a hired steam boiler begins with assigning a qualified and experienced team to the task. It is also essential that the hire company is informed of any abnormal conditions for the steam boiler as this could affect both performance and safety.

The most important considerations for the installation of cables and electrical equipment are the safety of people on site post-installation and prevention of damage to the cables while the equipment is on site.

All cables and pipework should be positioned to avoid becoming a tripping hazard and should be secured, highlighted, or protected as appropriate, with routing designed to avoid general access areas.

Electrical connection should be by armoured cable from the mains supply or a generator and should be made by a competent electrical engineer using the shortest possible route to the panels.

For oil fuel lines, natural gas pipelines and the water lines, the greatest risk is leakage. The installation team should take all sensible steps to avoid both the possibility of leaks and the risk to health & safety should any leaks occur. Fuel lines should be run in a safe area and be checked for leaks at joints, filters, pumps and valves, with valves double-checked to ensure that they are in good working order to enable shut-off in the event of a leak.

The installation team should also check that the dead weight fire valve is operating correctly. The second half of this article will be published in H&V News in January.

Stephen Danks is HSQE manager at Watkins Hire