Cafe boilers & pressure system safety regulations (PSSR)

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 the individuals who operate them or those who would be near if it failed.

If pressure equipment fails in use, it can seriously injure or be fatal for people close by as well as causing extensive damage to property. As an employer (or user) churches have a duty to provide a safe workplace and safe work equipment which is safe and fit for purpose.

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) due to 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 with suitable protective devices to ensure they function properly;
  • Examined by a competent person in accordance with a Written Scheme of Examination;
  • Operated safely with appropriate training in place for anyone who operates, maintains, repairs or tests. Refresher training should also be in place;
  • Maintained in a safe condition.

More information can be found on the HSE website and in their leaflets; www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg261.pdf and http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l122.pdf