RI Department of Labor and Training

Department Proposes Changes to Boiler Regulations

September 29, 2011

The RI Department of Labor and Training announced today that it is proposing new regulations for low-pressure boilers and unfired pressure devices to better define which places of public assembly require boiler inspections by the state.

Director of Labor and Training Charles J. Fogarty states that the revised regulations affirm Governor Chafee’s desire to remove unnecessary barriers to operating a business in Rhode Island.  Last year, the Department of Labor and Training conducted more than 10,000 inspections of low-pressure boilers and unfired pressure devices. Under the new regulations, the department estimates that the number of inspections will drop 20 percent from the previous year.

 “Boiler inspections have been a particularly contentious issue within Rhode Island’s small business community,” says Fogarty.  “These new regulations exempt many businesses previously subject to boiler inspections under the former definition of ‘public assembly,’ and reflect an ongoing effort within the department to streamline and simplify existing business regulations.”

Under the proposed regulations, businesses with low-pressure boilers and unfired pressure devices subject to inspection include the following places of public assembly only:
▪       Public, private, parochial or charter schools
▪       Family child care, group child care, and child day care centers
▪       Public and private hospitals as well as ambulatory care facilities and residential treatment facilities
▪       Nursing homes, assisted living residences, adult day care and hospice inpatient facilities
▪       Boarding homes for renters and lodgers
▪       Places of worship
▪       Any public buildings owned, leased or controlled wholly or partially by the state or its agencies.

All other businesses open to the public and maintaining low-pressure boilers and unfired pressure devices will no longer be subject to state boiler inspections.
This recommended change originated with a departmental work group, created by Director Fogarty as a response to business concerns about fairness and consistency of current boiler inspection procedures. Fogarty also credits Sen. James E. Doyle (District 8, Pawtucket), Sen. Edward J. O’Neill (District 17, Lincoln, North Providence, Pawtucket) and Rep. Patricia A. Serpa (District 27, Coventry, Warwick, West Warwick) with supporting a departmental review of boiler regulations.

It is important to note that this proposed change in regulations will not impact businesses maintaining high-pressure boilers. Low-pressure boilers have a water capacity not exceeding 120 gallons and a heat input not exceeding 200,000 BTU; additionally, low-pressure boilers are used solely for hot water supply at a pressure not exceeding 160 pounds per square inch and at temperature not exceeding 210 degree Fahrenheit. Unfired pressure devices rely on indirect heat sources for their operation.

The proposed regulations will be submitted to the department’s Code Commission next week, and if approved should take effect in early November.
The changes regarding places of public assembly is the latest pro-business revision to boiler regulations. Earlier this year, the RI Department of Labor and Training revised boiler regulations related to inspection fees. Because inspections take place on a biennial basis, previously businesses were assessed for two years’ worth of fee charges when inspected. Under the new regulations enacted in July, businesses are now assessed only one year’s worth of fees for a biennial inspection. The department estimates that this change will save RI businesses nearly $400,000 in the current fiscal year.




ABOUT DLT: The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunity to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island’s workforce by enforcing labor laws, prevailing wage rates and workplace health and safety standards. The department also provides temporary income support to unemployed and temporarily disabled workers. For more information on the programs and services available to all Rhode Islanders, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov