The Boilers Act of 1923 was formulated to protect people’s lives and property from the dangers of steam boiler explosions and create uniformity in registration and inspection during boiler operation and maintenance in India.
According to section 2, clause (f) of The Boilers Act of 1923, Steam boilers are closed vessels exceeding 22.75 litres used for generating steam under pressure. Owners must apply to the Chief Inspector of Boilers for inspection and pay the required fees, as per the Indian Boilers Act-1923 and Delhi Boilers Rules-1927.
Section 2 clause (b) of the Act defines a boiler as a closed vessel exceeding 22.75 litres used for generating steam under pressure, including any mounting or fitting attached to it, which is under pressure when shut off.
The Indian Boilers Act of 1923, coupled with the Indian Boilers Regulations (IBR), serves several crucial purposes. It helps mitigate explosion risks, prevents legal entanglements, ensures adherence to IBR design and construction standards, extends tube lifespan, reduces breakdowns, and guarantees comprehensive safety through third-party inspections certified by the Indian Government. Materials approved by the IBR support these measures.
Table of Contents
The Indian Boiler Regulation was established in 1863 after a boiler exploded in Calcutta. This led to the Bengal Council passing a bill in 1864 concerning steam boiler inspections, which led to the formulation of the Indian Boilers Act in 1923.
The Central Boilers Board was formed in 1937, and the latest version is the Indian Boiler Regulation, 1950. The law has been amended periodically, covering inspections and material procurement conditions.
Registration of the Boiler Act
According to section 7 of The Boilers Act of 1923, Every boiler owner is required to register their boiler by applying to the Chief Inspector of Boilers. The steps for the registration procedure are the following:
- Submission of application form for the registration of boiler
- The Concerned Officer will then verify the form, and they shall examine the required documents. After the permission has been granted, the documents will be forwarded to the Chief Inspector for issuing erection permission.
- Within seven days, the permission will be issued by the Chief Inspector.
- The officer will determine the inspection date within fifteen days of submitting the erection completion report.
- The boiler will then undergo a thorough inspection and testing within two working days, and a provisional steaming order in form V of IBR will be issued.
- The concerned officer must complete Form I (MI Book) within seven working days and forward it to the Chief Inspector for registration number allocation.
- The Chief Inspector will allocate the Registration Number within fourteen days.
- The application form must be submitted within seven working days, and a steam test will be conducted after engraving the registry number on the boiler.
- The concerned officer will submit a FormVI to the Chief Inspector within two working days of conducting a steam test, and if not, the owner will be notified for rectification.
- The Chief Inspector is required to countersign Form VI within two working days and send it to the owner, informing the concerned officer.
Renewal of Certificate
Section 8 of The Boilers Act of 1923 specifies the steps for renewing the certificate which authorises using a boiler.
A boiler certificate is deemed inoperative when it expires, is damaged, moved, or undergoes structural alteration, addition, or renewal. It also ceases when the boiler is in a dangerous condition or when an order prohibiting its use is communicated to the owner.
Once the certificate ceases to be in force, the owner can apply for a renewal for a period not exceeding twelve months. However, if the certificate pertains to an economiser or an unfired boiler in a processing plant, the renewal period may be up to twenty-four months.
The Chief Inspector shall then dispense with the payment of any fee if the certificate has ceased to be in force due to any structural alteration, addition, or renewal. If an economiser or an unfired boiler forms an integral part of a processing plant, the date for its examination must be within sixty days from the date of receipt of the application. The owner must be given thirty days’ notice of the fixed date.
The Inspector will further examine the boiler in the prescribed manner and, if satisfied, issue a renewed certificate authorising the use of the boiler for a period not exceeding twelve months and at a pressure not exceeding the maximum pressure as deemed fit. A renewed certificate issued under this subsection may authorise its use for a period not exceeding twenty-four months.
Usage of Boiler While the Certificate is Pending
According to section 10 of The Boilers Act of 1923, when a boiler certificate’s expiry date is reached, the owner can use the boiler at its maximum pressure if they apply for renewal before the expiry date.
However, the above does not apply to cases referred to in clauses (b), (c), (d), (e), and (f) of sub-section (1) of section 8 of The Boilers Act 1923 occurring after the expiry of the certificate’s period.
Revocation of Certificate
Under Section 11 of The Boilers Act of 1923, The Chief Inspector has the authority to withdraw or revoke any certificate or provisional order on an Inspector’s report in cases where:
- There is suspicion of fraud, erroneous or inadequate examination.
- The boiler in question has been damaged or is no longer in good condition.
- The State Government has established rules requiring boilers to be in charge of individuals with proficiency certificates.
However, The Chief Inspector is required to provide written reasons for withdrawing or revoking a certificate or provisional order to the boiler owner within thirty days of receiving the communication, stating the reasons for the withdrawal or revocation.
Inspection of Steam Pipeline
According to The Boilers Act and regulations, the steam pipeline (SPL) is a pipe used to transport steam from a boiler to user equipment. It is defined as a pipe that passes steam at a pressure exceeding 3.5 kg/cm3 above atmospheric pressure or 254 cm in diameter, including any connected fittings. The boiler owner submits a copy of the SPL layout, along with the necessary fees. The SPL is checked for safe working pressure and flexibility according to the Indian Boiler Regulations of 1950. It is then subjected to Hydraulic Test Pressure and allowed to be used at the requisite pressure if satisfactory.
The concerned area officer will inspect and test the manufacturing sites, and the manufacturer will submit a signed certificate and test certificates online. The area officer then submits the certificate to the Chief Inspector for countersignature. The clerk checks the documents and forwards the application to the examining officer. After examination, the examining officer sends the application to the Chief Inspector for countersignature. The Chief Inspector countersigns the certificates, and the citizen can download them.
Powers of Entry for Inspection of Steam Pipe
Under section 17 of The Boilers Act of 1923, An Inspector is authorised to inspect or examine a boiler or its attached steam pipe or observe any provisions of this Act or regulations at reasonable times within the designated area. They must enter any place or building within their area where they believe a boiler is in use.
According to section 18 of The Boilers Act of 1923, the owner or responsible party must report any boiler or steam-pipe accident cases within 24 hours.
The accident report must accurately describe the accident and any injuries. The Inspector must also ask the person to answer any questions about the accident’s cause, nature, or extent to the best of their knowledge and ability.
Examination of the Boiler Attendants
As per the Boilers Act of 1923 and the Boiler Attendant Rules of 2011, if a person does not possess a boiler attendant certificate, then that person is not allowed to operate a boiler with a total heating surface exceeding 1000 sq.metres within a 50-metre radius. The State Government established a Board of Examiners to conduct examinations for obtaining a boiler attendant certificate under the Boiler Attendant Rules, 2011.
The application for the Boiler Attendant exam should be submitted in prescribed Form-A, accompanied by a Treasury Challan, two copies of photographs, proof of age, qualification, and an experience certificate. A NOC should be included for candidates outside of Assam. The application should be sent in a self-addressed envelope with a five rupees postal stamp, superscribed as “Application for Boiler Attendant exam,” to the chairman of the Board of Boiler Attendant Examination.
The department conducts regular examinations for qualified Boiler Attendants to operate each boiler, following the guidelines of the “Delhi Boiler Attendant Rules, 1953,” to ensure the proper functioning of the boiler
Examination Owner’s Duty
It is the duty of the owner under section 14 of The Boilers Act of 1923, that they must:
- Povide the Inspector with the necessary facilities and information for the examination,
- Ensure the boiler is prepared and ready for examination
- Provide necessary drawings, specifications, and certificates for registration.
If the owner fails to comply, the Inspector will refuse the examination and report the case to the Chief Inspector. If sufficient cause is shown, the owner may be required to file a fresh application under sections 7 or 8, as the case may forbid them from using the boiler despite anything contained in section 10 of The Boilers Act of 1923.
Penalties for Illegal Use of Boiler
The owners of boilers who use them without a certificate or provisional order or at a higher pressure than allowed are punishable with a fine of up to five hundred rupees under section 23 of
The Boilers Act of 1923. If the offence persists, the fine may increase to one hundred rupees each day after the first conviction. This applies to boilers that require a certificate or order for their use.
Furthermore, section 24 of The Boilers Act of 1923 also specifies penalties for other acts. That is, if anyone who:
- Uses a boiler that has been transferred from one state to another without reporting the transfer;
- Fails to mark the register number on the boiler;
- Makes structural alterations without the Chief Inspector’s sanction;
- Fails to create an accident report of a boiler or steam pipe;
- Tampers with a safety valve to render it inoperative at the maximum pressure allowed under the Act; or
- Allows another person to enter a boiler without disconnecting it properly from any steam or hot water connection with another boiler or fuel mains.
Such an individual shall be liable for punishment with a fine of up to five hundred rupees.
Central Boilers Board
The Central Boilers Board is a board that has been established to exercise powers conferred by section 28 of The Boilers Act of 1923.
The Boilers Board consists of fifteen members, including the chairman, nominated by the Central Government to represent various interests, including Union territories, railways, the coal industry, the Indian Standards Institution, the boiler manufacturing industry, and users of boilers. The State Government nominates a senior technical officer with expertise in boiler inspection and examination. Any vacancy in the Board is filled promptly by a nomination made by the nominating authority. The Board can regulate business conduct, create committees and subcommittees, and delegate powers and duties to them. The powers of the Board can be exercised despite any vacancy.
The Board of India can make regulations consistent with the Act for various purposes under section 28 of The Boilers Act of 1923, including laying down standard conditions for material, design, and construction for boiler registration and certification.
The regulations also prescribe the circumstances and conditions for allowing variation from the standard conditions, the method of determining maximum pressure for boiler use, registration fees, inspection and examination procedures, and the form of the Inspector’s report.
The Board also has the authority to regulate the inspection and examination of boilers and steam pipes, ensure workers’ safety, and provide for other matters not of local or state importance. Regulations must be laid before each House of Parliament for thirty days, which can be completed in one or two successive sessions. If both Houses agree to modify or annul the regulation, it will only have modified or no effect, without affecting the validity of any previous actions under the regulation.
Limitation of Application
The Indian Boilers Act of 1923 under section 4 states that this Act does not apply to boilers or steam pipes, steam vessels, sterilisers or disinfectors belonging to the Army, Navy, or Air Force, or those commonly used in hospitals unless the boiler does not exceed ninety-one litres in capacity.
The Central Government may by notification declare that the provisions of the Boilers Act of 1923 do not apply to boilers or steam pipes belonging to or under control of any railway administered by the Central Government, State Government, or railway company, as defined in clause (5) of section 3 of the Indian Railways Act, 1890.
The Boilers Act of 1923 mandates that every boiler owner is required to register their boilers by applying for the Chief Inspector of Boilers. The boiler is registered with inspection fees and certificates of manufacture, as per IBR-1950 regulation 385.
The Chief Inspector upon registration, issues a certificate to the boiler owner, authorising its use for up to twelve months at a maximum pressure. According to the Act, Owners of boilers without a certificate or provisional order can face a fine of up to five hundred rupees, with the fine potentially increasing to one hundred rupees per day.
The Boilers Act of 1923 aims to safeguard lives and property from steam boiler explosions and ensure uniformity in registration and inspection during boiler operation and maintenance in India.
How can one obtain a boiler licence in India?
Boiler owners purchasing new boilers must apply for the Chief Inspector of Boilers, inspection fees and certificates of manufacture from the manufacturing state's Chief Inspector of Boilers, for registration, as per regulation 385 of IBR-1950.
What is IBR?
The Indian Boiler Regulations (IBR) are standards that govern the materials, design, construction, inspection, and testing of boilers and their components in India.
In what cases does the Boilers Act of 1923 not apply?
Section 4 of The Boilers Act of 1923 excludes boilers used by the military and hospitals, as well as railways under government or company administration. Additionally, it doesn't apply to boilers below ninety-one litres in capacity.
What is the composition of the Central Boilers Board?
The Boilers Board, appointed by the Central Government, comprises fifteen members representing diverse interests. These include Union territories, railways, coal industry, Indian Standards Institution, boiler manufacturing, and boiler users. The nominating authority swiftly fills vacancies. The Board holds full authority over business conduct, committee formation, and power delegation.
What is the examination for a welder?
The Boilers Act of 1923 and The Indian Boiler Regulation of 1950 mandate that all welding work in boilers, Steam Pipe Lines, and related components must be performed by qualified High-Pressure Welders, who undergo periodic examinations to ensure their qualification.