Skip to content

Burns caused by release of steam and boiling water from overheated pump

A member has reported an injury caused by boiling water from an overheated centrifugal pump. During filling and pigging operations, a high volume centrifugal pump overheated due to the motion of the pump impeller. This caused the water in the pump casing to flash to steam, increasing the pressure in the pump casing and suction hose. The pressure caused the suction hose at the pump inlet to separate violently from the suction hose fitting, spraying steam and boiling water over a worker stood nearby. The worker received second degree burns to his legs.

The company has recommended that all operations using high volume centrifugal pumps should evaluate the procedures and piping systems in use, and ensure that they are ‘fit for purpose’, to prevent a reoccurrence of this type of incident.

IMCA Safety Flashes summarise key safety matters and incidents, allowing lessons to be more easily learnt for the benefit of all. The effectiveness of the IMCA Safety Flash system depends on Members sharing information and so avoiding repeat incidents. Please consider adding [email protected] to your internal distribution list for safety alerts or manually submitting information on incidents you consider may be relevant. All information is anonymised or sanitised, as appropriate.

IMCA’s store terms and conditions ( apply to all downloads from IMCA’s website, including this document.

IMCA makes every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the documents it publishes, but IMCA shall not be liable for any guidance and/or recommendation and/or statement herein contained. The information contained in this document does not fulfil or replace any individual’s or Member's legal, regulatory or other duties or obligations in respect of their operations. Individuals and Members remain solely responsible for the safe, lawful and proper conduct of their operations.