We get lots of questions regarding DSEAR and as specialist DSEAR Assessors, we can answer some of the most common questions.

What is a DSEAR Assessment?

DSEAR stands for Dangerous Substances Explosive Atmosphere Regulations. A DSEAR Assessment is a full detailed review of the explosive substances, how they are used and stores and what hazards exist in terms of the explosion.

He most significant factors are the substances themselves and the explosive properties, the way in which it is used and if explosive atmospheres can exist, the number of substances within the explosive atmosphere and also what ignition sources (Heat, Static, Naked Flame) exist that could ignite the explosive atmosphere.

These are then rigorously checked to make sure appropriate control measures are in place to prevent the explosive atmosphere from existing, or if that is not possible, eliminating any ignition sources.

How often should a DSEAR assessment be carried out?

Normally a DSEAR Assessment should be completed as soon as any potential explosive atmospheres are identified. Ideally in a design sage but more often than not, it’s after things are already in place.

Once the DSEAR Assessment is completed, the review should ideally be annually or if things change. You can review things yourself provided no new hazards are introduced and it’s not a high-risk environment or the quantities of substances are not large (thousands of litres/tonnes).

If you do have a facility that has a high risk or large volumes of substances, 6-monthly is normal and the original assessor may be the best person to do this.

How much does a DSEAR Assessment cost?

It is common for some complicated processes being assessed by some of the large multinational consultancies costing in the region of £3000 to £6000.

We typically operate at a cost in the region of £1300 to £1800 depending on the complexity and time it will take to complete.

Why are we able to be so competitive? It’s a simple fact that we specialise in UK only facilities, we are a small consultancy and as such we don’t have a demand for fleets of vehicles and city centre head offices, so ultimately our overheads are lower and we can afford to competitively price work to suit our business model and work to help the financial burden with our clients.

What is a DSEAR Zone?

A DSEAR Zone is the expected area in which a flammable or explosive atmosphere is present. The zone can be categorised based on the type of substances and the likely duration as:

Zone 0 / 20 – A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of dangerous substances in the form of Powder / Dust / Fumes / Vapours or Gasses is present continuously or for long periods or frequently.

ATEX Category 1 Equipment

Zone 1 / 21 – A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of dangerous substances in the form of Powder / Dust / Fumes / Vapours or Gasses is likely to occur in normal operation occasionally.

ATEX Category 1 or 2 Equipment

Zone 2 / 22 – A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of dangerous substances in the form of Powder / Dust / Fumes / Vapours or Gasses is not likely to occur in normal operation but, if it does occur, will persist for a short period only.

ATEX Category 1, 2 or 3 Equipment

Is DSEAR a Legal Requirement?

Yes, it’s a simple answer. The R in DSEAR stands for Regulations, so there is no getting away from it, unfortunately.

That said, he ain driving force behind the DSEAR Assessment being commissioned is the proactive Management (Senior manager or Safety Manager), the Insurance provider insisting you get it done or the HSE Inspectors identify it is needed.

In any case, PLEASE get in touch BEFORE you start to implement any control measures recommended by the Insurance or HSE Inspectors. We will be able to save you a huge cost by avoidance rather than fixing the problem that’s for sure.

Our DSEAR Specialist (Ryan) can offer some free advice if needed rldavies@orbisenvironmental.com / 07402093183

What Substances are Explosive?

Almost any substance that has a calorific value and is in the form of a powder, dust fume, vapour or mist can be explosive. Including wood dust, paint fumes, paper dust, general warehouse dust if there is enough of it is also explosive.

Types of environments where this happens include:

  • Spray Booths and Paint Shops
  • Spray Dryers
  • Blenders
  • Grinders and Macerators
  • Ink Press
  • Wood Workshops (and wood extraction)
  • Any process that generates dust
  • Flammable substance storage
  • Paint and COSHH  Stores
  • Extraction (LEV) systems removing powders, dust or flammable fumes

What is ATEX?

ATEX is the term used for the rating of electrical fixtures and appliances that are used within a DSEAR Zone. The lower the zone rating the higher the ATEX rating needs to be. The higher the ATEX rating, the better protection it has in the event of a failure and as such, no electrical spark should be released during a failure causing fire or explosion. There is plenty more technical stuff behind this but as a nutshell that’s a good summary.

Who can carry out a DSEAR Assessment?

It is vitally important that the person who completes the DSEAR Assessment is up to the mark. This is a very important factor because too many times have, we seen inaccurate advice given off the back of a DSEAR Assessment that means the unnecessary cost for you the end client. Invest in an experienced assessor upfront and the cost will pay off further down the line. Most inexperienced assessors over safeguard meaning higher than needed zones and more cost for ATEX rated kit.

It is quite common that the HSE will check a DSEAR report by a fire safety specialist and say they want it done by a DSEAR Specialist. Not to diminish the great work fire specialists do, but they are in fact different and specialist subjects that takes years of practice to have a good understanding. Also, someone who is commercially minded helping you, the client is very valuable.

This is where we are supposed to plug our services, but your aware by now we know our stuff otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this.