People, not equipment caused all boiler fatalities

August 23, 1999
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Human error continues to play a significant role in boiler and pressure vessel accidents, according to the “1998 Incident Report” released by The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors.

Despite a 50% decline compared to 1997, all deaths reported in 1998 were the result of preventable human factors. Just two-thirds of reported fatalities were attributable to human error in 1997.

“For the first time in recent history,” reported the association, “there were no reported deaths in 1998 attributed to boilers. All involved pressure vessels.” The number of injuries — 31 — also decreased by 59% from the previous year. Moreover, an 18% decline in the number of accidents was reported.

Then again, the number of accidents caused by human error (i.e., low water condition, improper installation, improper repair, faulty design or fabrication, and/or operator error and poor maintenance) is still too high, according to the association.

Nearly 90% of the accidents were the result of “carelessness, complacency, inexperience, or lack of training. In 1997, only 80% of accidents were caused by human factors.”

For more information, contact The National Board of Boiler and Pressure Vessel Inspectors at 614-888-8320; getinfo@ (e-mail); (website).

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