The Boiler Room Newsletter - A look at boiler operations, maintenance and safety

A message from the Chief

Hello, and thank you for reading The Boiler Room as we close out the year. I’d like to share with you a few Boiler Program accomplishments for 2008:

  • Conducted 99.1 percent of inspections timely.
  • Increased outreach and training by 500 percent.
  • Completed 100 percent of quality assurance audits.

I’m also happy to report that there were no fatal incidents related to boilers/pressure vessels in our state this year.

The Boiler and Pressure Vessel Program’s 12 inspectors and 120 commissioned insurance inspectors help ensure that 108,904 manufactured, installed or operated boilers and pressure vessels in Washington meet specific safety standards that prevent malfunctions that threaten public and employee life and safety.

Please recommend The Boiler Room to other boiler professionals. They can sign up at the new Boiler News E-mail List.

Best wishes for a safe New Year!

- Linda Williamson, Boiler Chief


Boiler Program continues emphasis on preventing furnace explosions

Recently L&I received a report of a major furnace explosion that occurred Dec. 6 at the University of Washington. There were no reported injuries but the boiler and steam plant sustained significant property damage.  At this time, the cause of the explosion is unknown, and an investigation is ongoing.


Boiler expansion joint blown out


The furnace explosion had such a force it bulged the boiler and bent a metal beam

Our online research found a similar incident that occurred in April 2008 at another UW, the University of Wisconsin. Seven workers were inside the boiler plant at the time of that explosion, but only one was injured and it was minor. According to the article we found, contractors were performing routine maintenance on a backup boiler as part of a switch from natural gas to fuel oil when pressure built up in the fuel injectors and released fuel to the burner – the likely cause of the explosion.

L&I has been focusing attention on furnace explosions for several years. We first published an article in the fall 2006 issue of The Boiler Room, which discussed the cause of furnace explosions.

Aging boiler equipment appears to be the possible cause for the increased occurrence of furnace explosions. If you missed the previous article on aging boiler equipment, please see the summer 2008 issue of The Boiler Room.


Board of Boiler Rules Update

Changes to the Board of Boiler Rules were completed in December. The changes clarify insurance inspector’s responsibilities, adopt current editions of inspection codes, adopt nationally recognized fuel-train standards, clarify administrative codes for standards for installation, clarify administrative codes for standards for repair, and update references throughout the rule. The changes were adopted Dec. 1, 2008, and will become effective on Jan. 1, 2009.


Inspector News

Congratulations to Dan Brown and Don Sage for completing all the requirements for a National Board “A” endorsement. The “A” endorsement is essential for individuals seeking to perform shop inspections of objects constructed to ASME code. Acquiring an “A” endorsement is no small task. Each inspector must complete a two-week course. The curriculum includes quality control, design, testing, fabrication rules, welding requirements and much more. At the end of the course, there is a lengthy exam and then another 80 hours of on-the-job training in ASME shop fabrication inspection.

These trainings are so important as both the inspector and the program benefit from the inspector’s increased knowledge and experience in the boiler and pressure-vessel field.

Thanks to both Dan and Don for their commitment to completing this course.


Don't toss your 2004 NBIC Appendix C

The 2007 NBIC has separated the information concerning Historical Boilers into three parts: Installation, inspection and repair/alteration. To help our antique boiler folks continue to comply with the requirements for these older boilers, the Board of Boiler Rules made the decision to not adopt the 2007 NBIC for historical boilers. The 2004 NBIC appendix C will continue to be the code for compliance as it has all the requirements in one place, making it easier to use.


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Board of Boiler Rules

Our next Board of Boiler Rules Meeting will be held:

January 13 & 14, 2009 at 10 a.m, Room 3
Tacoma Labor & Industries
950 Broadway, Suite 200
Tacoma, WA

Future meetings to be announced. View the agenda and minutes from past meetings.

Washington State Boiler Inspectors Association (WSBIA)

The Washington State Boiler Inspectors Association (WSBIA) holds a lunch meeting on the first working Monday of each month to discuss current topics. The January 5 meeting will be held at:

Goldie's Airport Way
3924 Airport Way S.
Seattle, WA

Washington State Boiler Inspectors Association 45th General/Annual Technical Meeting

March 12, 2009
8:15 a.m. (Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.)
Museum of Flight at Boeing Field
9404 East Marginal Way S.
Seattle, WA 98108-4097

To receive an invitation to upcoming events, contact the association at:


As the Department of Labor & Industries Boiler/Pressure Vessel Section, we are working hard to provide you with quality customer service. Sign up for our Listserv and receive safety bulletins and news.


Please see the L&I Boiler Inspector Web page to find the inspector in your area.

For questions about boiler regulations, fees and forms, please contact:

Tony Oda, Technical Specialist
Phone: 360-902-4983

Alicia Curry, Administrative Assistant
Phone: 360-902-5271

Karol Conly, Customer Service Specialist (Supervisor)
Phone: 360-902-5273

Kay Piesch, Customer Service Specialist
Phone: 360-902-5272

Annabel Schmidt, Customer Service Specialist
Phone: 360-902-5267

Department of Labor & Industries
Boiler Program
Phone: 360-902-6400
Fax: 360-902-5292

The Boiler Room is a Web-based newsletter from the Department of Labor & Industries' Boiler Program.

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