$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 years.
These are pressure vessels.
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, 1.5M
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
Hazard Prevention and Control
Education and Training
Program Evaluation and Improvement
Communication and coordination on multi-employer sites
The boiler room log lists boiler operation data that can be used to increase boiler safety and efficiency as well as identifying a potential malfunction.
All boilers that are required to have operating certificates shall have a manufacturer's nameplate attached. The nameplate shall have the appropriate ASME Code symbol, the allowable working pressure, date of manufacture, and the minimum relief valve capacity.
Regular service should be performed on schedule and recorded.
Operating records and inspection records should be reviewed regularly to ensure compliance.
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 inoperative.
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 manufacturer representative.
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 valve.
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 property.
This must be a regular boiler test per the Manufacturer’s guidelines.
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.
"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 procedures.“
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 primary power boiler is off-line.
Several overhead doors were blown off, and one of these struck 4 employees, injuring them.
Many accidents during this process
Exact Start up Procedures
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.
Many falls occur due to work on boilers.
Boiler Supports/Platform (6)
Floor Opening (4)
Unknown Platform (3)
Aerial lift (2)
Metal Grate Failure
Tripped over Boiler piping
Cheater Bar slipped and fall backwards
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 direct-fired boiler that vented its combustion products with the steam it generated
Fly Ash poses an engulfment and a burn hazard.
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 injuries.
Employees vacuum inside or conduct inspections.
Typical 5(a)(1) Violations
Not testing Relief Valves (NBIC)
No written operating procedures
No daily maintenance procedures
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
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 boilers.
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 OSHA.gov website.
[email_address] or firstname.lastname@example.org 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.