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Pressure systems

Pressure systems


Failure of a pressurised system can cause fatalities or serious injuries and may also cause serious damage to property. In Great Britain there are about 150 instances where there is failure of pressure vessels causing around 6 deaths or serious injuries per year. The principle causes of such catastrophic failures include poor equipment or system design, poor maintenance, unsafe 'Systems of Work', operator error, bad installation of equipment and inadequate repairs.

There are two sets of regulations that are intended to ensure the safety of pressure systems


  1. 'The Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999' which deal with how to manufacture safe pressure systems;
  2. 'The Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000' which deal with the management and inspection requirements for pressure systems.

The 'Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999 will not be discussed in this guidance as pressurised equipment is not normally manufactured by the University. If any School/Unit intends to manufacture pressurised equipment the requirements of this legislation must be complied with.

Action by head

The Head of School/Unit should ensure that:


All pressure systems within the School/Unit, other than rented gas cylinders, are identified and recorded.

Records should include;

  • where the equipment is located;
  • a serial number for the equipment (if available)
  • the pressure it runs at;
  • the approximate volume of the vessels and associated pipework;
  • what 'Relevant Fluid' is used within it.



  1. Where the pressure system uses steam at any pressure or is greater than 250 Bar litres, Estates and Buildings are informed so that they can arrange for the statutory examination to be performed by the University Insurers.                                                                                                                                     Note: Estates and Buildings do not arrange for the general maintenance of pressure systems unless the pressure system is part of the fabric of the building.
  2. A 'Safe System of Work' for using the pressure system has been produced and implemented.
  3. Pressure systems are properly maintained and are annually serviced by a 'Competent' engineer. Records of all maintenance and statutory inspections should be kept by the School/Unit.
  4. All staff who use pressure systems have been given the appropriate information, instruction and training necessary to operate the equipment safely.
  5. Appropriate annual statutory examinations are performed on gas cylinders owned by the University. The Head should ensure that those responsible for filling gas cylinders owned by the University have been suitably and sufficiently trained.



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University of St Andrews
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St Andrews
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Scotland, United Kingdom

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