SafetyCulture iAuditor

Pressure Vessel Inspection Checklists

Proactively catch boiler and pressure vessel issues with a powerful mobile tool

Published 4 Aug 2021

What is a Pressure Vessel Inspection?

A pressure vessel inspection, also known as a boiler inspection, is a safety check done regularly to ensure that pressure vessels are safe to hold liquids or gases under pressure. Pressure vessel inspections help prevent boiler or pressure vessel failure that can lead to costly damage to property, business reputation, or loss of life.

This article will briefly discuss:

Why Use Pressure Vessel Inspection Checklists?

Boilers and pressure vessels vary by shape, construction materials, working pressure, vessel threads, safety features, and maintenance features. Engineers, safety officers, or boiler inspectors use pressure vessel inspection checklists to help maintain the good working condition of pressure vessels and their safety accessories which keep liquid and gas pressure in check.

How Often Should Pressure Vessels be Inspected?

Generally, pressure vessels should be inspected at least once every two years and tested at least once every five years. Visual examinations of pressure vessels, or storage tanks/vessels that operate at pressures above 15 psig (pound-force per square inch gauge), should also be conducted after installation, before operation, and during maintenance to detect potential cracks and ensure boiler and pressure vessel safety.

Pressure Vessel Inspection Requirements

Inspection requirements for pressure vessels depend on country-specific regulations such as the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations of 2000 (PSSR) in the UK, regional guidelines such as the Pressure Equipment Directive of 2014 (PED) from the European Commission, and applicable industry standards such as the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

3 Main Causes of Pressure Vessel Failure

There are several causes of pressure vessel failure that can have dangerous consequences if not caught early and immediately corrected during routine inspections. Consider these common reasons why pressure vessels become unfit for use and watch out for them during routine inspections.

  1. Hardware issues

    Error in design, plate material used, construction, or installation can cause cracks and erosion on boilers and pressure vessels that could lead to leakage or rupture. Compliance with industry standards for the manufacture of boilers and pressure vessels can help prevent failures and other hardware issues.

  2. Errors in repair

    Welding, coating, and other methods of pressure vessel repair that do not conform with standards may not properly address issues and render the vessel unsafe for use. Periodic inspections should be conducted by engineers or boiler inspectors to proactively determine if boilers, pressure vessels, and safety devices are still in good working condition or already in need of repair or replacement.

  3. Lack of monitoring 

    Prolonged use of pressure vessels without periodic maintenance or routine inspections can lead to catastrophic accidents. Whether inspections are done annually or every 4 hours, they can help keep the vessels at optimal condition and prevent unforeseen accidents if they are conducted by competent personnel.

Wrong material used and lack of internal audits contributed to the rupture of a pressure vessel in 2009 that caused injury, damage to nearby businesses, and loss of life in the state of Illinois.

Technology to Proactively Inspect Boilers and Pressure Vessels

iAuditor by SafetyCulture can help engineers and inspectors conduct external and internal inspections of pressure vessels to determine their soundness to withstand pressure while holding liquids or gases. With iAuditor, you can:

  • Conduct scheduled pressure vessel inspections with a mobile device
  • Capture and store unlimited photos of issues found during inspections
  • Immediately assign corrective action for urgent issues and receive live status updates
  • Share inspection reports through the app with superiors and colleagues
  • Automatically organize recordkeeping for long-term storage of information as required
  • Customize checklist templates to fit the type of boiler or pressure vessel and meet the requirements of industry standards
SafetyCulture staff writer

Erick Brent Francisco

Erick Brent Francisco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. As a content specialist, he is interested in learning and sharing how technology can improve work processes and workplace safety. His experience in logistics, banking and financial services, and retail helps enrich the quality of information in his articles.

Erick Brent Francisco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. As a content specialist, he is interested in learning and sharing how technology can improve work processes and workplace safety. His experience in logistics, banking and financial services, and retail helps enrich the quality of information in his articles.