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.


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.

Certificate of Exemption

HSE has published an exemption certificate for any pressure system forming an enclosure for high voltage equipment.

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: 2021-12-01