Why do companies need to keep logbooks for their steam and boiler plants?

The CEA strongly recommend that every boilerhouse has a daily log of all activities in the boilerhouse and kept up to date on a daily / shift basis. This assists all staff in understanding what has and has not been done that day and what is still required to be done to ensure all checks and tests are carried out.
We do say that a hard-backed logbook is the best way of keeping that record so that anybody that is involved with the boilerhouse can see at a glance what’s been going on during that shift or day depending how you operate.

CEA members across industry think it is imperative that no matter what happens in the boilerhouse it is logged and signed off by those attending to the boiler, it is also just as important to sign the logbook to say the boilerhouse has been visited even if nothing was found to require specific attention, adjustment or requiring maintenance.

This logbook is your get out of jail card if something goes wrong, assuming it’s done correctly, you can then prove it has been monitored checked and signed by the operator, fitter, supervisor and manager, those responsible for the boiler plant making sure the work is done.

Electronic Records – In one court case the judge would not accept an electronic record since he said it could have easily been tampered with, loose leaf books are not accepted either, as these can easily be modified, even if records are electronically time and date stamped (unless they have the padlock system as banks do) they can be modified. If somebody can break into FBI files, then it’s not too difficult to alter records which could be hacked or changed to suit.

We would recommend that the people attending any boilerhouse log all activity in a hard-bound logbook, then they can transfer the hand-written report and input it into an electronic system if that is how a company wants to maintain long term records. But as mentioned above a daily hand-written log is preferred and it allows everybody attending to the boiler to know what’s happened that shift / day / week / month etc.

It is also recommended that the logged information stays with the boiler in a safe location, not next to or in the boilerhouse in case there is an accident, fire etc. all annual inspection reports, any modifications, repairs etc. must stay with the boiler for its whole life and then be passed on to any new owner, so they are not lost or forgotten about and there is history on that boiler. Other records such as water treatment reports can be done electronically but a paper record is also beneficial and should also be retained for a period of time/years to see what’s happening to your equipment, this can assist in trending what’s happening. BG03 and BG04 covers this in more detail.

Should you ever have to hire in a temporary boiler, which many companies have to do at some point, all of the information for the activity surrounding that hire equipment must be kept up to date in a logbook and retained, along with changes to your Written Scheme of Examination, design, installation, operation etc. etc. It should be viewed as a part of any existing system and be included as an addition to that system, involving your Competent Person at the very outset of any hire plans, BG08 covers this in more detail.

The Combustion Engineering Association
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Tel: +44 (0)1740 625538 | Email: [email protected] | Web: www.cea.org.uk

Further reading

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 Inadvertent steam release results in tragic outcome on cruise ship
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Emission Limit Values for Hydrogen and Non-Conventional Fuels
15th February, 2024

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