Pressure systems and equipment include:
- boilers and steam heating systems
- pressurised process plant and piping
- compressed air systems
- pressure cookers, autoclaves and retorts
- heat exchangers and refrigeration plant
- valves, steam traps and filters
- pipe work and hoses
- pressure gauges and level indicators attached to such systems.
If pressure equipment fails in use it can seriously injure or kill people nearby and cause serious damage to property. Common causes of failure include poor design, poor installation, poor maintenance, unsafe systems of work and inadequate repairs or modifications. These are often associated with operator error due to poor training and supervision.
Every pressure system is required to be properly designed and constructed to be safe in use. It should be installed and tested in accordance with recognised standards. To ensure that its integrity is maintained it must be regularly inspected and tested by a competent person. Operators and users also need to be trained and instructed in the correct procedures for the use of the particular pressure system.
Employers should maintain a technical file containing the design details and specifications for the systems along with the safe operating instructions and procedures. Certificates of every subsequent test and examination and details of changes or modifications to the sytem should be kept with the technical file.
See also: Competent Person