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Wanted: boiler operators (new law)

Published (5/30/2008)
By Lee Ann Schutz
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A side effect to fewer people taking up the occupational trades is that hobbyists showing antique farm equipment at fairs and exhibits are finding steam-boiler operators hard to come by. State law recognizes some of this equipment as historic artifacts, but a licensed hobby boiler or a licensed steam engineer must be present when any of the machines are operated in public.

A new law, sponsored by Rep. Bob Gunther (R-Fairmont) and Sen. Kathy Sheran (DFL-Mankato), lowers the age that someone can be considered for a provisional boiler license from 18 to 16 years old, and it sets out the criteria for licensure. The law is effective May 16.

“It is a hobby that is coming into its own,” said Rep. Dan Severson (R-Sauk Rapids). By lowering the age requirement for licensure, supporters believe young people may be encouraged to turn a hobby into a career.

The law lays out training criteria for the new licensure provision, requiring at least 50 hours of operating experience. It also adds a $50 application fee to the boiler engineer license application for those seeking a provisional license.

The new law also allows those with a provisional license and employed at a high pressure boiler plant to operate boilers greater than 500 horsepower, under certain conditions.


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