The Cal/OSHA warning urges employers not to use non-conforming steam boilers.

Cal/OSHA Issues Warning on Non-Conforming Steam Boilers

"Employers are required to prevent potential hazards to workers, and using equipment that meets required safety standards is essential," said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations.

Cal/OSHA recently issued a reminder to California employers that they should avoid steam boilers that do not meet safety standards. Steam boilers are used for industrial applications such as medical sterilization and parts cleaning.

"Employers are required to prevent potential hazards to workers, and using equipment that meets required safety standards is essential," said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations, Cal/OSHA's parent agency.

The agency's warning said failures occur when thinning, cracking, scale buildup, poor design, or insufficient water can no longer contain the boiler pressure or when unburned fuel unexpectedly ignites. Defective operational controls that maintain appropriate pressure, water level, and burner fuel flow can also cause the boiler to explode if they are not properly used and maintained. "Cal/OSHA has specific regulations relating to equipment's design and construction, inspection, and operation," said Cal/OSHA Chief Juliann Sum. "Using steam boilers that are not up to code can cause an over-pressurized release of steam or an explosion. This poses a serious risk to workers."

All steam boilers are required to meet the ASME Section I Power Boiler Code regarding their construction, engineering, testing, and the installation of safety controls. Larger boilers may require a Cal/OSHA permit to operate.

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