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Pressure equipment (PE)

2What is pressure equipment?2 This term refers to all equipment designed to produce, manufacture, store or implement, under a pressure higher than atmospheric pressure, vapours or compressed, liquefied or dissolved gases. Piping systems and safety accessories also belong to this category. All this equipment can pose a significant risk in case of failure.

This equipment is present in our day-to-day environment (“butane” gas bottles, pressure cooker, air compressor etc.) as well as in the industrial sector (reactors in the petroleum or chemical industry, gas storage containers etc.).

The risks inherent in these devices have led to their regulation by the legislator by subjecting them to certain manufacturing conditions and the obligation of regular monitoring during their operational periods. 2Safety challenges2 The energy contained in this equipment is considerable and can, in case of failure of the container (shocks, corrosion etc.), result in the destruction of the device with fragment projections and a sudden release of potentially toxic or flammable gases or vapours, causing human and material damage in the vicinity of the accident location. Some examples of industrial accidents involving pressure equipment: FEZIN in 1966, FLIXBOROUGH in 1974, MEXICO in 1984.

In the industrial sector, specifically the chemical and petroleum industry, there is a lot of this type of equipment, which features amongst the main risk factors. Surveillance is therefore essential and special attention must be paid to its manufacturing [1], operation, maintenance, control and possible repair. This is the responsibility of the operator with regard to the installation and usage of the equipment.

There are many types of degradation likely to result in the destruction of a device, including corrosion phenomena, structural damage in areas under a lot of pressure or along welds, erroneous usage outside pressure or temperature limits specified by the manufacturer. The continuing operation of faulty equipment can lead to rupture under the effect of pressure. Monitoring is therefore aimed at preventing the occurrence of these events by enforcing appropriate controls in order to detect alterations before they become hazardous.


Law no. 571 of 28 October 1943 relative to steam devices used on land and gas pressure devices used on land or aboard inland water navigation vessels.
Decree no. 99-1046 of 13 December 1999 relative to pressure equipment.
Order of 15 March 2000 relative to the operation of pressure equipment.
Circular BSEI no. 06-80 [2] of 6 March 2006 relative to the application conditions of the abovementioned order of 15 March 2000.

[1] The rules applicable to manufacturing are now European. Compliance with these rules is the responsibility of the manufacturer.

[2] See BO of MINEFI no. 17 (1st quarter 2006)