The law

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The Pressure Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016 came into force on the 8 December 2016 and have subsequently been amended by Schedule 24 of The Product Safety and Metrology (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.

These Regulations cover pressure equipment and assemblies with a maximum allowable pressure PS above 0.5 bar.

HSE is responsible for enforcing the PE(S)R in the case of pressure equipment and assemblies being used in the workplace, and local authorities would be responsible where the equipment or assemblies are for private use or consumption.

The Regulations apply to design, manufacture and conformity assessment of pressure equipment and assemblies of pressure equipment with a maximum allowable pressure above 0.5 bar.

Conformity assessment is carried out by Conformity Assessment Bodies (also known as Approved Bodies). There is a list of Conformity Assessment Bodies accredited under PE(S)R on the  GOV.UK website.

The regulations do not apply to:

Definitions

Schedule 2 of PE(S)R details the essential safety requirements (ESR) that qualifying vessels must satisfy. Additionally, there are details of how the different products are classified, the technical requirements that must be satisfied, and the conformity assessment procedures that must be followed.

Go to the frequently asked questions for advice on how to comply with the ESRs - essentially, by either:

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have produced guidance on pressure systems.

Note: The Regulations do not apply to the assembly of pressure equipment on the site and under the responsibility of the user, as in the case of industrial installations. In such cases, the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000, which contain 'in use' provisions, will apply.

Simple Pressure Vessels (Safety) Regulations 2016 (SPV(S)R)

SPV(S)R sets out 'essential requirements' (for example, for safety), written in general terms, which must be met before products are placed on the market in the UK. Standards fill in the detail and are the main way for businesses to meet the 'essential requirements'. The Regulations also say how manufacturers are to show that products meet the 'essential requirements'.

Products meeting the requirements are to be appropriately marked and carry the UKCA marking which should mean that they can be supplied in the UK, provided they are safe.

The Simple Pressure Vessels (Safety) Regulations 2016 has been subsequently amended by Schedule 21 of The Product Safety and Metrology (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.

Simple pressure vessels have the following characteristics or limitations:

Additionally, vessels consist of either of the following:

Exclusions

SPV(S)R does not apply:

Schedule 1 of SPV(S)R details the essential safety requirements that qualifying vessels must satisfy. It also gives details of how the vessels should be categorised, the technical requirements to be satisfied, and the conformity assessment procedures to be followed.

Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000 (PSSR)

The duties imposed by PSSR relate to pressure systems for use at work and the risk to health/safety.

The aim of these Regulations is to prevent serious injury from the hazard of stored energy as a result of the failure of a pressure system or one of its component parts.

Before using any qualifying pressure equipment (new or otherwise), a written scheme of examination (WSE) must be in place, and an examination undertaken.

Pressure systems are defined as:

A relevant fluid is:

Relevant fluids do not include hydraulic oils. Hydraulic systems, while using high pressures, do not store energy in the system and so are not covered by this legislation.

The PSSR Approved Code of Practice (ACOP), Safety of pressure systems (L122), will help you determine which regulations (if any) apply.

Exceptions

There are many exceptions to PSSR, including:

Twenty-five complete exceptions are detailed in PSSR Schedule 1 Part I.

Three partial exceptions are detailed in PSSR Schedule 1 Part II.

If in doubt, the useful and instructive ACOP Safety of pressure systems provides additional information and advice.

The difference between a pipeline and pipework

The easiest way to distinguish between the 2 terms is to remember that pipelines cross boundaries and pipework does not (except where there is a common supply to a number of units). The terms also include associated protective devices, valves, compressors and so on.

The PSSR ACOP Safety of pressure systems provides useful definitions of pipework and pipelines as these can vary between different regulations (specifically PSSR, PE(S)R and the Pipeline Safety Regulations 1996).

Who has duties under PSSR?

Employers (also known as 'dutyholders'), including:

The user of hired or leased equipment should make sure that the WSE is in place and that the certificate of examination is also current.

PSSR Schedule 2 allows a supplier of an installed system to assume responsibility in writing for the WSE, the operation, the maintenance and the record keeping.

Competent person

In general terms, the role and responsibilities of the competent person can be summarised as follows:

An important feature of the in-house competent person is that they should be independent from the operating functions of the organisation, and they must have sufficient authority to stop the use of the pressure equipment should the need arise.

For more detail about the role and responsibilities of the competent person see the Approved Code of Practice (L122) Safety of pressure systems, particularly paragraphs 28 to 34 and 100 to 102.

 
Updated: 2021-08-31