Boilers are complex and potentially dangerous equipment that must be treated with respect. Designed to provide large amounts of steam for heating, power generation, or sanitation, the complex workings of a boiler aren’t well-understood by the public or by employees who haven’t been trained about them. Take the following actions to improve the safety of your employees around your facility’s boiler.
Boiler safety training involves teaching employees about the many dangers of an active boiler. This includes hot surfaces that can burn on contact, rotating equipment that can catch jewelry and loose clothing, and electrical hazards that can cause shock or electrocution. Plus, boilers can generate leaking steam or flying ash and experience malfunctions of safety valves, pressure gauges, and more. Teach every employee about these dangers, even if they seem obvious to you, and teach them how to properly act around the boiler.
Scheduled burner service is the best way to make sure your boiler is operating safely and at maximum efficiency. Starting with a combustion analysis, burner service can increase efficiency, saving you thousands. Just as important, this crucial scheduled maintenance includes a full safety check of the boiler to find potential hazards from malfunctioning equipment before there is a breakdown, injury, or other incident. A poorly maintained boiler is an accident in the making.
Anyone who needs to go near the boiler should wear goggles, a hard hat, and other minimum safety equipment for working around heavy machinery. It is also essential that fire extinguishers and other fire suppression equipment are available and that all employees know how to use them. Signage near the boiler can help make sure that employees, vendors, or contractors who are not trained and equipped stay away unless accompanied by a knowledgeable employee.
There is no reason that office workers, janitorial staff, or drivers should be near the boiler, even to look for someone or deliver a message. Consider creating a color-coded zone system at your workplace, and make it clear to each employee which zones they are allowed to enter. Employees will appreciate the clarity, and it will help improve safety in the areas of your business where there are inherent dangers.
A well-maintained boiler is less likely to be a safety hazard, and well-trained, smartly equipped employees are less likely to make mistakes that lead to injury. Those with no business in the boiler area and no training or equipment should simply stay away. Safety in your facility boils down to smart decisions from you and your employees.
Bio: Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.