What is a DSEAR Assessment?
A DSEAR Assessment is a systematic review of a process, area, or activity against strict criteria to determine, in the first instance if it is explosive, then how much of an impact such an explosion could have.
Furthermore, it identifies the zones which are explosive and defines them into a classification based on likelihood and composition if it is a Powder / Dust or if it is a Gas / Vapor, with a designated “Zone” around these areas as to make it clear that ignition sources should be eliminated.
We Only Have A Small Amount Of Flammables On Site. Do I Need A DSEAR Assessment?
Sorry, but this is not an easy question to answer, and so I will do my best.
If you have a basic COSHH Cabinet, and the standard of housekeeping is good, and that is all you have, then no – a fire risk assessment will be more than adequate.
But if you have a working area where you decant or pour substances from 1 container into others, we are starting to get into grey areas.
If you have a 200l drum of diesel, although Diesel falls under DSEAR, having good storage arrangements and manual (not electric) pumping kit means the risk is low enough for you to justify a good fire risk assessment and some basic procedures about no mobile phones or ignition sources – just like you see at fuel stations when filling up your car.
But if you have IBCs of flammable substances, Fuels, or solvents for example, we are now into the category of needing a DSEAR Assessment.
If you have a large diesel or Kerosene storage tank for mobile plant, vehicles, or space heating, you will need a DSEAR Assessment.
If you store multiple flammable substances such as paints, solvents, or thinners in a large store room, this will need a DSEAR Assessment.
If you have finished products in sealed containers within a low risk warehouse, we are back to grey areas again.
So hopefully you can see the complexities…
We Have Some Of These – What Next?
Do not be afraid to give us a call or email and ask if you need a DSEAR Assessment.
We do not employ sales people and so you will only speak to a consultant interested in helping. We can give a simple yes and no answer based on what we ask you about your site.
From there, we can give good advice and support over the phone, and if you decide to use us as to complete the DSEAR Assessment, we would of course be thrilled, but more importantly, we can base the cost on time and complexity.
What Other Substances Needs To Be Considered Under DSEAR?
If you have come to the conclusion that you only have small COSHH flammable storage cupboard so maybe you only need a fire risk assessment, make sure to consider the other substances you may have on site. Sometimes other substances push a site into DSEAR requirements.
If you have any of the following it is expected that you may need a DSEAR Assessment:
- Diesel Generator (backup Power Supply)
- Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS)
- Forklift truck (or any other large battery) charging – only within enclosed areas
- Biomass Boilers (wood dust)
- Large timber cutting and LEV units
- Mains Gas supply (meter, pressure regulator valve and connection points)
- Kerosene for space heaters
- LPG / LNG Gas storage vessels
- Compressed flammable Gas cylinder cage
What Is Not Covered Under DSEAR That Sometimes Gets Mistaken
Although this list has the potential to explode, they are either not relatable to a dangerous substance, or are covered by other regulations and so a DSEAR assessment is not needed for:
- High Voltage Electricity supply
- Electrical cabinets
- Air pressure cylinders (compressed air)
- Non-flammable pressurised gas cylinders
- High pressure water (pressure washers)
NOTE – These may be possible ignition sources to other DSEAR Zones and so should be considered as part of the scope, but not the reason for a DSEAR Assessment.
Does Diesel Classify Under DSEAR?
Diesel was reclassified as a ‘flammable liquid’ in 2008 under EU rules and again in 2016 in the UK to bring it within the scope of DSEAR (The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations).
This is why some people may be confused as to why it has not been identified as an issue previously.
The Diesel itself is still the same, but the rules changed the temperature flashpoint of liquids to between 21degC and 60degC (previously 21 to 55degC).
Diesel has a flashpoint around 55 to 60degC, and so now falls under DSEAR.
Lots have been done to emphasise this does not change Diesel itself, and rightly so, but it now needs to be risk assessed like any other DSEAR requirement for flammable liquids, fumes, or dusts.
How Often Should A DSEAR Assessment Be Completed
Most common DSEAR risk assessments are completed and then reviewed within 12 months to support the site and sign off all actions. Once in that position, the typical high risk site will need to be revisited every 1-2 years and all other sites between 3-5 years.
If a site needs a lot of support from us, we can often revisit every 6 months to check a few things over and give good advice on alternatives to expensive ATEX equipment. Some even as fast as 3 months, but usually 12 months is standard practice.
Does The DSEAR Assessment Need To Be A Site Visit?
It is very likely that a site visit is required to make sure all of the risks are identified and assessed.
We do however have an option for low risk and low complexity sites to undergo what we call “desktop” DSEAR Assessment. This is not an alternative to having the assessment done, but more of an option if you have good people that can be trained and look after the risks. This desktop assessment will include an initial phone call and then either video call to walk through the substances and processes, or maybe ample pictures.
We can then work to develop the arrangements you should have in place and in the modern world of video communications, we can deliver training and information to the key people.
We typically follow this up with a site investigation within 3 months when we are in the area to walk through the procedures and risk assessment to sign things off.
I must stress, this is ONLY for very low risk sites such as a Diesel tank and Flammable cabinet. If the activities involve pumping liquids for process or bulk storage, we insist on visiting site.
The benefit of this is that it is less costly, but the disadvantage of this is that it does not cover the full process.
If you feel you fall into this category, please do get in touch.
What About Design DSEAR Assessments?
So the project has not started, the building not yet built, or you are doing the due diligence to find out what needs to be included with a project in terms of DSEAR.
This is where a design DSEAR Assessment comes in.
Typically involving a project team, this Design DSEAR Assessment is a review of the substances and the planned installation vs risk of fire and explosion.
We can create a Design risk assessment that provides options to be considered as part of a facility design to make sure all zones are established and equipment within zones are compliant to avoid introduction of ignition sources.
The design DSEAR Assessment also considers the zone extent and distances to adopt practical distance or ventilation measures included into the design, which may negate the need for ATEX electrical plant and equipment.
For example, a control panel can be installed outside of the zone, whereas the electrical devices (E.G. level sensors) can remain inside the zone. The sensors must be suitably rated for the zone and the control panel must have an intrinsically safe protection barrier (sometimes called Zener Diodes, or 4-20mA protection) – which eliminates the need for and cost of ATEX rated control panels.
We can review all such considerations within the design project.
What Do We Need to Do Next?
The first step is to contact us. Call the head office where one of the consultants can answer your questions (we do not use sales people so you will ONLY talk to a qualified person).
We will then chat through the substances and activities at your site and give you some free advice on what to do right away.
From there we will be able to explain how much work we will need to be done and approximate costs to make an immediate start.
Please pop us an email at [email protected] or call us on – 01656 470044. We will usually be in touch within an hour or 2.
If it is urgent, please email our senior consultant Ryan Lloyd-Davies (CMIOSH) on [email protected]