Boilers are large, closed containers used to heat water or another liquid to a gaseous phase as steam. Operations all over North Carolina use these machines for a variety of purposes and hire trained professionals who are subject to the rules of the North Carolina Department of Labor. State law regulates these boiler operators, who must meet certain requirements.
Becoming a Boiler Operator
North Carolina law stipulates that a boiler operator or owner must have a license in order to operate the boiler. To comply with the requirements for boiler maintenance, an operator must demonstrate a thorough understanding of the workings of the boiler. Anyone found to be operating a boiler illegally will face misdemeanor criminal charges and fines. The boilers must meet the standards of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, or ASME, Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code.
Boiler operators must maintain clean boiler rooms and make sure that boilers receive enough combustion air. They must ensure that the exhaust system is clear and that there are no leaks. They must check the burner furnace and be sure that the boiler expansion tank is filled. Operators must test all drains and blowers and make sure that the flame sensors and valves work properly. The operators must ensure that the vents are not clogged. They must check all instruments and controls for proper operations. These duties must be performed regularly.
Boiler operators must receive an inspection certificate from an inspector licensed by the National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors. High pressure boilers must have two inspections, an internal inspection every year and an external inspection three to nine months after the internal inspection. Heating boilers, hot water supply boilers and commercial water heaters need only an external inspection every two years. The operator or owner must schedule the inspection themselves and will have to pay any inspection fees out of pocket. The certificate must be clearly displayed once issued.
Repairs and Accidents
Boiler operators will receive a thorough evaluation from an inspector who will inform the operator of all repairs and areas in need of attention. Operators must make these repairs immediately and receive a second inspection to ensure that they have been made. Also, if an accident ever occurs with the boiler, even if it is a minor accident, it must be reported to the North Carolina Boiler Safety Bureau.