It is a little known fact, and one that is hard to imagine today, that from the
early 1840’s to well into the1920’s, more than 50,000 people were killed and 2 million
injured each year by boiler explosions in North America. The industrial revolution
did not happen without a terrible price being paid by so many.
Today, unfortunately unsafe boilers and pressure vessels can, and do, suffer catastrophic
failures. The injuries and deaths attributed to boilers and pressure vessels today,
although few by comparison, do happen. Catastrophic events are greatly reduced through
mandatory safety inspections required by all fifty states and 13 providences in
Canada. Alabama became the 49th state to enact a boiler and pressure vessel safety
act. By February 5th, 2004 boiler and pressure vessel inspection began in earnest.
Alabama joins other states along with many national and international boiler and
pressure vessel safety committees charged with developing the safety standards to
which our safety depends.
The Alabama law
ACT NO. 2000-315 (BOILER AND PRESSURE VESSEL SAFETY ACT) requires boiler
and pressure vessel inspections on a regularly established basis unless exempted
by law. Please click on the ACT NO. link to see list of exemptions. Operating Certificates
must be maintained on equipment regulated by the ACT. Permits must also be obtained
to install boilers and pressure vessels. This includes Water Heaters over 200,000
btu or over 120 gals. Currently there is no requirement for an installer, operator,
or maintenance/service company to be licensed under the ACT.
Alabama has an estimated 44,000 boilers and pressure vessels.