A Discussion On Pressure System Safety Regulations

Pressure systems safety regulations were introduced in the UK in the form of “The Pressure Systems and Transportable Gas Containers Regulations 1989”. These were superseded on the 21st February 2000 by “Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR)”. A new Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) was introduced at the same time, with an updated version in 2014. Today, many businesses still don’t know of these regulations, or continue to ignore them.

In the mid 19th century there were many steam boiler explosions, on average one per week between 1866 and 1908, and these were only the ones which were reported. (Information from internet search as it was a little before our time). Prior to PSSR, the Factories Acts required boilers to have regular maintenance, a safety valve, steam gauge and water gauge present for safety reasons.  In today’s age, some inspection houses still see as “all that is needed”, and don’t include “pipework” as defined in the regulations. The regulations call for the whole system to be considered for examination, after all it is the “Pressure Systems Regulations”. 

The aim of the regulations clearly states, “to prevent serious injury from the hazard of stored energy as a result of the failure of a pressure system or one of its components”.

The Pressure Systems Safety Regulations, ACoP has a legal status; “if you are prosecuted for a breach of health and safety law, and it is proved that you did not follow the relevant provisions of the code, you will need to show that you have complied with the law in some other way or a court will find you at fault”. It is a criminal offence not to comply and fines now can be hefty with the HSE able to charge for their time under Fees for Intervention (FFI) at £163.00 per hour. This can turn out to be expensive in relation to non compliance . It has been advised that there can be around 2000 intervention in respect of Pressure Systems Safety Regulations made by the HSE.

So, who are the duty holders to these regulations? 

The user of an installed system and the owner of a mobile system, either hired or leased, should ensure that the system they supply is compliant to PSSR. 

The regulations also apply to service providers, installers and manufacturers to provide information alongside their obligation to ensure the system does not give rise to danger.

Since 1991, Mandate Systems have been helping businesses both small and large to comply with the legislation. Over the last couple of years either because of the number of interventions by the HSE, increases in fines, or the customer awareness of the legislation, we have found there is a lack of information being provided by suppliers of new and second-hand equipment and services providers. We aim to provide honest and independent advice to educate the end user on their obligations, to prevent a breach resulting in unplanned FFI charges. 

Get your free copy of L122 from the HSE website follow the link. Pressure Systems Safety Regulation L122.