New guidelines published by SAFed have been introduced surrounding pressure relief valves and safety valves. Les Lilewood, sales director at Albion Valves (UK) outlines the key points and the correct usage for both pressure relief and safety valves along with the dierences between them

he Safety Assessment Federation (SAFed) represents the UK’s independent engineering inspection and certification industry, which plays a key role in maintaining high standards of safety within the workplace. The organisation acts as a focal point for all issues and concerns relating to the safe use and operation of plant, machinery and equipment. The new SAFed guidelines were put in place following an industry increase in the use of pressure relief valves in applications that required a safety valve. These valves are commonly mis- used due to a wrongly perceived cost-saving solution by using pressure relief valves instead.

T New guidelines

The new guidelines set out by the Pressure Equipment Committee will help engineers avoid the occurrence of dangerous overpressure situations. The guide focuses on areas such as optimal set pressure, discharge capacity of valves and design temperature of valves. It also highlights the risks of using pressure relief valves instead of safety valves, a practice which has become increasingly common in recent years.

In a pressurized system both safety and pressure relief valves are used as the last safety device. However, engineers and specifiers need to be mindful that the requirements can vary significantly from system to system, and increasingly valves must now meet the EU’s Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) 2014/68/EU to guarantee safety. The key differences are:

A pressure relief valve – the opening is proportional to increase in the vessel pressure. The opening of the valve is not sudden but gradual if the pressure is increased gradually.

Safety Valve – the opening is sudden. When the set pressure of the valve is reached, the valve opens completely. The graphic below illustrates how a safety valve is designed to open completely to alleviate pressure.

Correct usage

Understanding when to use the different types of valve is vital for

engineers and installers, the summary below shows the key characteristics to bear in mind when making a selection.

Safety valves:

Certified valves with WRAS/PED and CE Type Test Approval. Normal lift – Full lift opening/closing characteristic.

Higher blow-off capacities than pressure relief valves.

Example application – A safety valve should be used for a boiler in a commercial building.

Pressure relief valves:

Valve without certification/approval (without safety function according to PED).

Proportional opening/closing characteristic.

Lower blow-off capacities than safety valves.

Example application – A pressure relief valve should be used to control the pressure in a manufacturing process.


In a pressurized system, both safety valves and pressure relief valves were being used. However, engineers and specifiers now need to be aware that valves must meet the EU’s Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) 2014/68/EU to guarantee safety and avoid catastrophic risks associated with specifying the wrong valve when assessing overpressure protection. In applications where PED is applicable, it is mandatory to use safety valves with the appropriate approvals. If a valve without type test approval is installed there is no guarantee that the required blow-off at 10 per cent would be reached, which poses a huge safety risk. Manufacturers must provide adequate instructions with equipment, complete a specified declaration of conformity and maintain a technical file of information about how the equipment was designed and manufactured. Pressure equipment must be marked with the manufacturer, unique identification of model and serial number, the year of manufacture, maximum/minimum allowable pressure limits and the CE logo.

It is imperative that specifiers look for three important factors when

specifying valves in projects where the PED applies: uCE Marked in accordance with the EU’s Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) 2014/68/EU uManufactured to a recognised safety valve standard such as EN ISO 4126-1, BS 6759 or API 526 uTamperproof to prevent unauthorised adjustment of set pressure.

Albion Valves has been supplying safety and pressure relief valves for several years and welcomes the new guidelines issued by the Safety Assessment Federation (SAFed). The company helps and advises with the new guidelines and aims to ensure that all engineers are meeting their insurance conditions and not making cheaper and potentially unsuitable options.

lbion Valves benefits from the knowledge and expertise that comes with over 30 years’ experience in the industrial heating and valve market. Albion was created with the sole purpose of supplying quality products at an affordable price to independent pipework distributors and engineering merchants throughout the UK. With a growing reputation for quality and reliability, Albion is now an established brand providing its customers with a trusted alternative to premium-priced products and a margin opportunity that is one of the most attractive in the market. Whatever you need, you can rest assured that if it comes from Albion, it has been designed and manufactured to deliver optimum performance and is accredited with the necessary approvals, including EN331 for gas and WRAS for potable water. Also, because it is committed to an independently assessed quality management system, register under ISO9001:2008, all future products will meet these same high standards too. As a socially responsible business, Albion is equally proud to conform to ISO 14001.

A 28 BUILDING SERVICES & ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEER MAY 2019 Read the latest at: About Albion Valves The new

guidelines set out by the Pressure Equipment Commiee will help engineers avoid the occurrence of dangerous overpressure situaons

FIRE & SAFETY SAFed and sound thanks to the latest valves

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