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State of Safety 2019 - Boilers

Boilers, pressure vessels, refrigeration



Technical Safety BC oversees the design, construction, installation and operation of boilers, pressure vessels and refrigeration equipment in accordance with the Safety Standards Act and the Power Engineers, Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration Safety Regulation.

Key statistics


incidents reported to us


injuries reported to us


physical assessments (inspections) completed


In 2019 the number of boiler, pressure vessel, and refrigeration incidents reported to us increased by 4 (11%) compared to 2018. Most of the incidents reported were from the refrigeration arena industry.

Following the fatal incident at Fernie Memorial Arena, industry awareness around the risks presented by refrigeration equipment and incident reporting has increased.

No incidents were rated as major. The most significant incident was the ammonia leak at the Port Alberni Multiplex.

The category under assessment refers to incidents reported to Technical Safety BC that were still under investigation at year-end.

Boiler, pressure vessel and refrigeration incidents in 2019



No injuries were reported in 2019.

Please note that we receive 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 us and the long-term effects of a resultant injury may not be recorded as part of our investigation.

Boiler, pressure vessel and refrigeration injuries in 2019



In 2019, there were 1,968 installation permits and 61,791 operating permits in the Boiler, Pressure Vessel and Refrigeration technology.

Commercial occupancy installation permits increased in response to recent growth in residential occupancy over the past few years. Also, growth in the number of agricultural product packaging in the Lower Mainland resulted in an increase in the number of refrigeration installation permits issued in the agricultural occupancy sector.

Boiler, pressure vessel and refrigeration permits in 2019



Technical Safety BC safety officers completed 6,129 physical assessments (inspections) of boiler, pressure vessel, and refrigeration equipment in 2019.

Physical assessments were at the highest in 2017 and 2018 due to the mandatory inspection of all arenas in the province, following the ammonia incidents in Fernie and Langley. After the mandate was lifted at the end of 2018, the total number of inspections dropped in 2019.

In 2019 our safety officers focused on first certification assessments, which are more comprehensive and therefore time-consuming. This resulted in a decrease in inspections being carried out in 2019.

Assessments are rated as follows:

Note: Unlike some other technologies we regulate, BPVR does not have a Conditional Pass category.

Boiler, pressure vessel and refrigeration inspections in 2019