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. This newsletter gives me an opportunity to tell you about new developments and accomplishments in the Boiler Program. I hope you enjoy reading it. If there are other topics you'd like to see covered here, send me a note at, and I'll try to include it.

Please recommend The Boiler Room to other boiler professionals. They can sign up here to receive it via e-mail.

Thanks for your interest!

- Linda Williamson, Boiler Chief



Do your customers understand the explosive potential of a defective water heater?

We've located dramatic videos that shows the incredible force of an exploding water heater. Feel free to use them when educating your customers.

Additional video:

I think it's important to communicate to customers that built-in safety devices on most water heaters keep them operating safely, day-in and day-out. But we don't want to let the excellent safety record of water heaters lull them into forgetting about the explosive potential of these marvels of convenience. An exploding water heater releases a tremendous blast force that can easily demolish a building - which these videos demonstrate so effectively.

Ensuring the safety of workers and the general public continues to be the focus of the Boiler Program. Last year, our inspectors located hundreds of boilers and pressure vessels (including hot water heaters) that were operating without a required safety inspection and found many with defects.

More people than ever are being exposed to the problem of boiler and pressure vessel failures, both on television and the internet, where we found the "Mythbusters" link I've attached. These illuminating examples are helping the public to understand the potential dangers of these seemingly everyday appliances.

History has demonstrated that before boiler and pressure vessel safety regulations, thousands of people were killed each year in these accidents. During the mid-19th century through the early 20th, boiler explosions caused some 50,000 American deaths every year, occuring on average once every four days during the 1850s. But because of important public safety laws there have been no boiler or pressure vessel-related deaths in Washington State since 1993, but we must not become complacent.


Your customers can always call for a safety inspection: 360-902-6400

We urge citizens and businesses to refer us customers with boilers and pressure vessels they know need a proper safety inspection - even if they own them. We will follow up and inspect the vessel if needed, with no penalty to the boiler/pressure vessel owner. These valuable referrals can expedite a safety inspection, which could prevent an accident.

Last year, thanks to a referral from a day care facility, the Boiler Program decided to focus its time and energy on locating and inspecting several hundred childcare facilities that had not contacted the department for their required safety inspection. As a result, our inspectors were able to find a number of safety violations. Correction of these violations, significantly decreases the chance of accident, injury or death in these facilities.

The Boiler Program continues to target locations, where children and older citizens spend time, as well as locations that can hold large groups - often through referrals from other agencies and organizations. In fact, we have asked L&I regional inspectors, supervisors, and administrators to communicate with local safety inspectors, building inspectors, fire marshals and contractors to build an effective referral network among those who are near boilers and pressure vessels every day as they work.

Our goal is to have a safety "Certificate of Inspection" located next to every regulated boiler, pressure vessel and hot water heater operating in our state.


Seattle Boiler Works, Inc. featured in national publication

The Fall 2009 National Board Bulletin, featured Seattle Boiler Works, a Seattle firm that repaired and restored an early 20th century boiler that will once again power the Portland, Oregon-built "Rayonier 2" locomotive. The company, located along the Duwamish River in Seattle, has built and repaired boilers and pressure vessels for more than 120 years and is one of only a few companies that employ workers skilled in the art of riveted construction and repair. In April 2009, Craig Hopkins, the Company's vice-president and member of the founding family, invited several of our inspectors to visit during the restoration project, in which he was closely involved. Hopkins has contributed his time, knowledge and abilities for many years as a member and chair of the Washington State Board of Boiler Rules. He continues his commitment to boiler and pressure vessel safety, as a member of the National Board Inspection Code (NBIC) Committee. Hope you enjoy the story.


The Board of Boiler Rules and L&I Say Farewell to Steve Bacon and Welcome to Leslie Grimm

Steve Bacon leaves the Board of Boiler Rules after 10 years of exceptional service and dedication as the Owner/User Representative. Steve has worked for many years at the ConocoPhillips Refinery in Ferndale, Washington. He is a National Board Commissioned Inspector and Supervisor of the Inspection Department at the plant. Steve is also an active member of the National Board Inspection Code Committee, which like the Boiler Board is committed to ensuring boiler and pressure vessel safety, not only in Washington State but throughout the world. We thank Steve for sharing his thirty-plus years of knowledge and experience furthering clear and proper boiler rules.

We are pleased to announce that Leslie Grimm of Simpson Tacoma Kraft Company, LLC has agreed to fill the vacant Owner/User position on the board. Leslie has been employed by Simpson for more than ten years. She has an extensive background in the boiler/pressure vessel industry and is well-regarded by her peers. We look forward to Leslie’s participation on the Board of Boiler Rules.

Steve Bacon
Board of Boiler Rules members: Steve Prideaux, Larry Trenda, Robert Olson, Tim Barker, Leslie Grimm


Annual Boiler Inspectors Assoc. (WSBIA) meeting changed to April 16

The Washington State Boiler Inspector Association’s 46th Annual Technical Meeting has moved from March to Friday, April 16, 2010 at the Embassy Suites in Tukwila. Please visit the Boiler Web site to get current information and updates.


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Board of Boiler Rules

Our next Board of Boiler Rules Meeting will be held:

February 9-10, 2010 at 10 a.m., Room 3
Tacoma Labor & Industries
950 Broadway, Suite 200
Tacoma, WA

Future meetings will be May 11-12, 2010. 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 February 1 meeting will be held at:

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

46th Annual Washington State Boiler Inspectors Association Meeting is April 16, 2010.

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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