Safer Places of Worship

Cafe Boilers

Café boilers have been manufactured for many years and can be found in most churches and church run cafes.

Modern boilers are electrically heated and generally comprise of a pressurised shell fitted with an integral electrical heating element. The size and internal pressure of the
boilers varies according to the manufacturer and the quantity of drinks being produced. However they all have one thing in common; they produce steam (or hot water at a
temperature greater than 100ºC) which poses a significant health and safety risk to those individuals who operate them or those who would be in close proximity should one fail.

If pressure equipment fails in use, it can seriously injure or be fatal to people nearby and cause extensive damage to property. As an employer (or user) churches have a duty to
provide a safe workplace and safe work equipment.

Principal causes of failures and other major incidents are:

  • Poor equipment design;
  • Poor maintenance of equipment;
  • An unsafe system of work;
  • Operator error, poor training or supervision;
  • Poor installation.

The Pressure System Safety Regulations (PSSR) were introduced in 2000 to provide direction and guidance to users and operators with the aim of preventing serious injury from the hazard of stored energy (and the scalding effects of steam) as a result of the failure of a pressure system.

The PSSR place specific responsibilities onto the user/owner of a pressure system. e.g. the system shall be:

  • Properly designed and constructed;
  • Installed in a safe manner;
  • Examined in accordance with a Written Scheme of Examination;
  • Operated safely;
  • Maintained in a safe condition.

More information can be found on the HSE website and in their leaflet