Client service updates

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State of Safety 2017: Boiler, Pressure Vessels and Refrigeration


Safety Manager's Discussion

It was a very active year and a number of changes to the Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel, and Refrigeration Safety Regulation (PEBVPSR) took effect in 2017. These included the introduction of a renewal requirement for those holding Certificates of Qualification issued under the Regulation. 

The Province has forecasted a shortage of power engineers which will impact industries that rely on power engineers for the safe operation of equipment. The newly launched Internationally Trained Worker Program will address this issue as we will be able to assess and recognize the qualifications of specific classes of power engineers from outside of Canada.

A new requirement for owners of boiler plants to register for an operating permit for the configuration of their plant was also implemented in 2017. By understanding technical systems as a whole, Technical Safety BC can better assess areas of risk and provide clarification on plant classification and staffing requirements to owners, users, and individuals who are in charge of plant operations.

In October 2017, an ammonia release at a public arena in Fernie resulted in three fatalities. Technical Safety BC worked closely with the fire department, RCMP, Coroner’s Office, and WorkSafe BC on the subsequent investigation. While the investigations are still underway, we continue to work with industry to provide knowledge, education, oversight and regulatory support to help prevent ammonia related incidents. Two safety orders were issued towards the end of the year and our work on ammonia safety will continue into 2018.


Tony Scholl
Boilers, Pressure Vessels, and Refrigeration Safety Manager  


The following summarizes incidents reported to Technical Safety BC involving Boiler, Pressure Vessels, and Refrigeration (BPVR) equipment. In 2017, a total of BPVR 35 incidents were reported. One rated as Severe involved an ammonia release.

 Note: In 2016 we changed the rating scale, hence the change from three to five categories.


Injuries reported as a result of BPVR incidents are summarized below. There were three BPVR fatalities this year, all related to a single ammonia release at an arena.


Note: Technical Safety BC receives injury reports and descriptions from operators or first responders at the time of, or immediately following the incident. Injuries may develop after the initial reports were made to Technical Safety BC and the long-term effects of a resultant injury may not be recorded as part of our investigation.

Note: In 2016 we changed the rating scale, hence the change from three to five categories.

Assessments of Regulated Work



Stakeholder Engagement

The Stakeholder Engagement team works to enhance connections between stakeholders and Technical Safety BC via standing committees, advisory bodies and issue-specific consultations. Learn more in the Stakeholder Engagement section.

Client Education Events

Technical Safety BC conducted numerous BPVR events throughout the province in 2017. Learn more in the Client Education section.

Media Relations and Communications

In 2017 Technical Safety BC took 11 media relations-related actions (media releases, responses to media requests and/or interviews) and produced one technical client newsletter regarding BPVR safety. We also shared general information on social media (Twitter and Facebook). Learn more in the Media Relations and Communications section.

Licensing and Certification

Technical Safety BC requires that BPVR equipment be installed, operated and maintained by qualified and knowledgeable professionals. In 2017, 94 new contractor licenses and 940 new Certificates of Qualification were issued. Technical Safety BC regularly issues renewal certificates for existing certificate holders. Learn more in the Licensing and Certification section.


Compliance and Enforcement Actions

The following table summarizes the enforcement actions taken in the BPVR technology in 2017. Learn more in the Compliance and Enforcement section.


Regulatory Instruments and Amendments

In 2017 we issued two BPVR safety orders, 10 directives and 19 information bulletins. A full listing of all regulatory instruments pertaining to the Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration technology is available here. Learn more in the Regulatory Instruments and Amendments section.