RI Department of Labor and Training


    > Savings estimated at $500,000 over the next two years
    > New regulations only impact hot water heaters using less than 200,000 BTUs

December 14, 2011

“Rhode Island’s boiler inspection regulations have been the subject of numerous complaints as well as an irritant to thousands of small business owners,” says Director of Labor and Training Charles J. Fogarty. “Now, 3,000 small businesses in Rhode Island will no longer be subject to boiler and low-pressure vessel inspections, thanks to new regulations made effective under the Chafee Administration.”

Beginning this week, the Department of Labor and Training Occupational Safety Unit will no longer require inspections of more than 3,400 low-pressure water heaters in over 3,000 businesses. This follows earlier action this summer, when the department reduced the cost to inspect low-pressure vessels from $120 to $60, in an attempt to minimize costs to small business. The new regulations represents a cost savings of more than $200,000 to exempted business under the current fee structure and a cost savings of more than $400,000 under the earlier fee structure.

Low-pressure vessels include hot water heaters and boilers with heat inputs less than 200,000 BTUs. Approximately 9,000 low-pressure boilers and vessels will still be subject to biennial inspections in Rhode Island. Of those, the vast majority—83 percent—will be inspected by insurance companies. The remaining 17 percent—approximately 1,500 low-pressure boilers and vessels—will continue to be inspected by Department of Labor and Training inspectors. Under the new, reduced fee structure, the savings to businesses still subject to inspection total nearly $100,000.

Fogarty says, “Governor Chafee has made it a priority to make state agencies more business-friendly. By implementing these new boiler inspection regulations in concert with our new fee structure, this administration will save small business approximately half a million dollars in fees over the next two years.”

Under the new regulations, businesses with low-pressure boilers and vessels subject to inspection include only the following places of public assembly:

  • 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 vessels will no longer be subject to state inspections.

Fogarty said that suggestions to revise boiler regulations and fees originated with a departmental work group, created 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 leading efforts in the Legislature to eliminate this inspection.



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