BG01 ‘Safe Operation of Steam Boiler Plant’ is a guidance document issued in the UK by the CEA and SAfed, and endorsed by the Health and Safety Executive.

INDG436 ‘Safe Management of Industrial Steam and Hot Water Boilers’ is a guide for owners, managers and supervisors of boilers, produced by the UK Health and Safety Executive.

Whilst we have previously uploaded an introduction to BG01, this article goes into in further detail.


BG01 was released in October 2011, published by; CEA and Safed and endorsed by the HSE. SAFed, the Safety Assessment Federation is a trade association with represents the engineering inspection and certification industry in the UK. CEA, the Combustion Engineering Association is an educational charity which promotes the science of combustion engineering. HSE, is the Health and Safety Executive in the UK.

It was released due to the fact that PM5 and PSG2 were old documents and needed updating. BG01 is the consolidation of these two documents together, and SAFed and CEA, in consultation with other stakeholders within the industry have updated them into this new single document. It therefore replaces PM5 and PSG2.

While BG01 is a guidance note, it has been produced in consultation with the Health and Safety Executive, and is therefore a highly important best practice document. It also includes the various legal requirements that boiler sites should be complying with. Sites which comply with this document show a commitment to best practice, to regulators and insurers. This should ensure that there is improved safety and a reduced risk of failure.

BG01 is designed to provide a guidance note to assist the manager, designers, operators, maintenance personnel and competent persons of new and existing boiler systems in addressing the following issues:

  • Safe boiler use and operation
  • Determining adequate supervision and maintenance levels for installed boiler plant.
  • Reduce the likelihood of explosion
  • Most efficient boiler operation to avoid excessive pressure/thermal cycles and load swings which can lead to boiler fatigue or failure
  • Using proper treatment and monitoring of the feedwater and condensate
  • Compliance with various legal requirements.

Legislation covered by BG01:

BG01 helpfully lists the main health and safety legislation that apply to the use of boiler systems. As well as listing them it also summarises what these mean. The legislation list is:

  • The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR).
  • The Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999 (PER).
  • The Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR).
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and
  • The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR)

We will not go into the details of this legislation, if you want to read more you can follow the BG01 link at the bottom of this article.

Legal Responsibilities:

This section includes details on; risk assessments, written scheme of examination (WSE), and examinations in accordance with the WSE. The key thing to note is that the owner/user of a boiler system is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the system complies with all the relevant health and safety legislation. While third parties, e.g. maintenance contractors can be used to assist in achieving compliance with these legal obligations, the overall and legal responsibility remains on the owner/user and cannot be contracted out although there is scope for certain duties to be transferred (as set out in a written agreement) between the owner and user.

Personnel and Responsibilities:

This section very carefully defines the personnel and their responsibility, in a way that was not done in the previous documents. For example; employers, users/owners, competent person (CP), boiler operator, personnel monitoring boiler alarms from on-site and off-site locations, and maintenance personnel are all defined and covered.


It is recommended that operators and managers achieve the national standards in the following courses;

  • Certified Industrial Boiler Operator (CertIBO) for operators
  • Diploma in Boiler Plant Operation Management (DipBOM) for managers

These qualifications form part of the Boiler Operation Accreditation Scheme (BOAS). BOAS is recognised by the UK health and safety executive, SAFed, and CEA. Training providers who are accredited under this scheme are accredited to the correct industry standards. Records need to be kept of all relevant training, as it may be viewed by enforcing authorities. A refresher training course will also be required after a period of time.

Design and Installation:

This section covers; boiler control systems, level sensing devices, combustion control devices (oil & gas), pressure and temperature devices, and communications and alarms.

The suggested typical control arrangement drawings for the boiler and associated equipment, depending on personnel attendance on site have been updated. One of these arrangements allows for extended unattended operation of a boiler house.

The arrangements are as follows:

1. This shows the minimum equipment required for the lowest level of automation. This level does not meet the requirements of boiler standard BS EN 12953.

2. This shows the minimum equipment required for a boiler with critical alarms monitored on-site by a remote panel located in a manned area such as a gatehouse. New installations should be manufactured to BS EN 12953, which requires additional limiters to be fitted.

3. This shows the minimum equipment requirements for the highest level of automation, i.e. lowest degree of supervision, where no boiler operators are on-site and with status monitoring by a remote location/telemetry system. New installations should be manufactured to BS EN 12953, which requires additional limiters to be fitted.

4. This is a typical arrangement for a hot water system with external pressure generation and expansion system.

Boiler Operation:

This section details the requirements for the operating boiler and the various regular checks and procedures that should be carried out on boiler systems. This includes the following areas: boiler instructions, recording of controls, limiters and feed water quality tests, water level control and limiters, burners and combustion tests (oil & gas), solid fuel (coal & biomass), and feedwater checks.

Maintenance, modification and repairs:

As well as advice on maintenance, modifications and repairs, this section includes; who’s responsibility it is, and specifics on periodic examination of boilers.

Energy management:

As you would expect this covers environmental issues with operating a combustion plant.

BG01 scope:

Any industrial and or, commercial sites, which have steam or hot water boiler plant that operates between 0.5 and 32 bar gauge and has a temperature between 110°C and 400°C are covered by this guidance document. Water tube boilers are excluded.

NOT affected by BG01 are as follows:

  • Water tube boilers.
  • Process boilers with a capacity exceeding: 30 tonnes steam per hour, 25MW, 32 bar gauge working pressure.
  • Domestic, commercial boilers smaller than 70kW.
  • Electric immersion, steam coil heated and electrode boilers.
  • Manually operated boilers (i.e. those requiring constant human intervention).


It is a guide for owners, managers and supervisors of boilers, boiler houses and boiler plant, produced by the UK Health and Safety Executive.

A “clock-face” diagram of 12 points which affect safe operation, for example; location, records, training, is a useful visual aid.

The document includes:

Boiler specification, operation and maintenance, equipment, water treatment, boiler house safety, training, routine testing of steam boilers, written scheme of examination, who or what is a ‘competent person’, records, changes and modifications,

A flow chart style check list for “right people in place” and “evidence of safe boiler operation”, helps with the ‘what do I do next question’.

See also:

Click here for link to BG01 document from SAFed

Click here for link to HSE INDG 436 document