The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today issued a safety alert aimed at homeowners, tenants, landlords and heating professionals following five incidents in the last five years where redundant solid fuel back boilers exploded. A number of these incidents led to injury and sadly in one case a fatality.
The risk can arise when a disused boiler has been left at the back of a fireplace and a coal or wood fire is lit in front of it. This can mean the boiler heats up causing the boiler casing to explode. If you have a redundant back boiler you should not light an open fire in front of it.
Information in the alert should help you identify whether you have this potential risk in your property / housing stock and what steps you should take. If you are unsure if you have a back boiler behind your fireplace you should seek further advice from your landlord or a competent professional such as a plumber or heating engineer.
For practical and technical advice you can contact the Solid Fuel Association helpline on 0845 6014406 www.solidfuel.co.uk or HETAS, the body recognised for official testing and approval of domestic solid fuel burning appliances at www.hetas.co.uk.
The alert is on the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/services/localgovernment/alert.htm.