Keeping heat and power systems in working condition is critical. That's
where boiler inspectors come in. They keep an eye on boilers, vats and other
strongly constructed closed vessels that hold liquid or gas. Boilers supply
steam to drive huge turbines in electric power plants and provide heat or
power in buildings, factories and ships. Tanks and vats are used to process
and store chemicals, oil, beer and hundreds of other products.
What does the inspector look for? They enforce safety standards, investigate
safety issues, shut off unsafe installations and provide technical information
to the public, owners and manufacturers.
Boilers last 35 years or longer, so inspectors check burners and tubes
regularly to ensure efficiency. They inspect fittings, valves, controls and
auxiliary machinery, and might clean or supervise the cleaning of boilers.
To do this, the inspector must verify safety valve capacity, code construction
calculations, allowable working pressures, tensile strengths, stress values
and corrosion allowances. Depending on the agency, some inspect manufacturing
shops, nuclear reactors and nuclear code shops as well. All inspections must
be documented by some type of report.
There are other major components of the job.
Enforcement -- analyzing information obtained from inspections
and comparing it with applicable codes, laws, rules, and regulations. A boiler
inspector investigates violations, accidents, explosions and complaints reported
by industry people or the public to determine whether regulations and statutes
have been violated.
Education and information -- answering general inquiries from the
public and contractors on the requirements of boiler safety codes, laws, rules
The job involves walking and climbing in boiler shops and other buildings,
and crawling inside boilers to inspect them. The inspector might also use
potentially dangerous equipment, such as acetylene torches and power grinders,
handle heavy parts, and work on ladders or on top of large vessels.