DSEAR stands for the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002.
Many businesses ask us, “What are dangerous substances, and do their business need to undertake a DSEAR Risk Assessment?” We always point out that the HSE website provides in-depth information that any business needs to know about DSEAR Risk Assessment.
According to the HSE website,
“Dangerous Substances are any substances used or present at work that may, if not controlled, cause harm and injury to people as a result of a fire or explosion.”
In this blog post, we have discussed all about DSEAR Regulations and DSEAR Risk Assessment that will help you to gain an understanding and insight into DSEAR.
Q- So, what is DSEAR?
DSEAR acronym stands for Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations.
DSEAR Regulation was passed in 2002 to protect people from the risk of fires caused by corrosion of metal and explosions within the workplace.
Q- What Defines a Dangerous Substance?
Any substance present or used at work that has the potential to harm individuals in the form of fire is known as a dangerous substance.
Some examples of dangerous substances are inclusive of varnish, paint, solvent, flammable gases, dust from sanding and machining and substances corrosive to metal.
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Q- What Are DSEAR Regulations?
The primary legislation applying to the control of substances that triggers fire and explosions in the workplace is the Dangerous Substance and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).
Q- Is DSEAR a Legal Requirement?
Yes, DSEAR is a legal requirement, and it requires employers to assess the risk and explosions that may be caused by dangerous substances in the workplace.
Starting from June 2015, DSEAR is also covering the risk caused by gases under pressure and substances that are corrosive to metal.
Such regulations allow changes in the EU Chemical Agents Directive, the aspects of the physical hazard of which are enacted in Great Britain through DSEAR.
Q- How Fire and Explosions Cause Harm To Your Employees?
Fire and explosions cause harmful physical effects like thermal radiation, overpressure effects and oxygen depletion.
Q- Where And When Does DSEAR apply?
DSEAR is applicable to workplaces where dangerous substances are present, used or produced.
Moreover, DSEAR is applied in the below-mentioned activities –
- A dangerous substance is present (or is likely to be present) at the workplace;
- The dangerous substance poses a big risk to the safety or people around;
- Chances of explosion events through corrosion to metal
Q- DSEAR Covers What Types Of Activities?
The following examples describe the types of activities covered by DSEAR –
- Petrol storage as a fuel for cars, boats or horticulture machinery,
- Presence and use of flammable gases, such as acetylene, for welding;
- Manufacturing industries handling and storing waste dust,
- Managing and storing flammable materials and waste such as fuel oils,
- Welding and similar “hot work” that includes flammable material,
- Works that release natural flammable substances – for example, methane in coal mines or at landfill sites,
- Flammable solvents in laboratories,
- Flammable goods in shops,
- Filing, storing and handling aerosols with flammable propellants such as LPG,
- Transporting flammable substances in containers around a workplace,
- Chemical manufacturing, processing and warehousing, and
- The offshore and onshore petrochemical industry.
Q- What Are The Requirements of DSEAR?
DSEAR implies duties on employers to assess and eliminate or minimise the risks from dangerous substances.
DSEAR compliance involves –
1) Risk Assessment
The first step of DSEAR compliance is to assess the risks caused by dangerous substances.
The DSEAR Risk Assessment is the identification and careful examination of –
- The presence of dangerous substances at the workplace,
- Work activities that include those substances, and
- The potential ways in which those substances could harm workers.
The purpose of the DSEAR Risk Assessment is to help employers to decide what they need to do to eliminate or minimise the risks from dangerous substances.
If there are no or trivial risks, no action is needed further.
Nonetheless, if there are risks, then employers should consider the next steps to comply fully with the requirements of DSEAR.
If the employer has a staff of five or more five people, then the employer must record the major finding of the risk assessment.
2) Eliminating or minimising risks
If the employer finds major risks, it is advisable to control the measures in a place to eliminate risks from dangerous substances or minimise them as far as is practicable.
If it is not possible to eliminate risks completely, it is advisable to manage and control risks while reducing the severity of the effects of any harmful event.
The substitution in the regulations is the process of replacing the dangerous substances with other substances or using a different work process.
Substitution is the best solution to eliminate the risk completely.
In practice, this may be difficult to accomplish – but it may be possible to minimise the risks by using a less dangerous substance.
3) Manage and Control Measures –
In a case where the replacement of dangerous substances is not possible, DSEAR requires control measures to be applied in the following priority order –
- Reduce the number of dangerous substances to the minimum level;
- Avoid or minimise releases of dangerous substances;
- Manage the release of the dangerous substance at sources;
- Prevent any dangerous atmosphere;
- Collect, contain and eliminate any releases to a safe place,
- Avoiding ignition sources and adverse conditions like exceeding the limits of temperature or control setting; leading to danger,
- Keeping incompatible substances apart
All of these control measures should be consistent with the risk assessment and adequate to the nature of the activity or operation.
4) Mitigation Measures –
Besides the control measures, DSEAR requirements insist employers to put mitigation measures in place.
All of the measures should be consistent with the risk assessment and adequate to the nature of the activity or operation and include –
- Minimising the numbers of employees exposed to the risk
- Access to a plant that is explosion resistant and corrosion resistant
- Provision of explosion suppression or explosion relief equipment
- Taking measures to control or limit the spread of fires and explosions
- Providing adequate personal protective equipment
- Making emergency plans and procedures
All the arrangements and measures must be made to deal with emergencies, and it should cover safety drills and suitable communication and warnings systems and should be in proportion to the risks.
When an emergency occurs, workers should be provided with the appropriate equipment to allow them to carry out the work safely.
Employees should be provided with relevant information, instructions and training.
It should be inclusive of –
→ The dangerous substances present in the workplace and the risk they show, including access to any relevant safety data sheet and information on any other legislation that applies to the dangerous substance.
The dangerous substances present in the workplace and the risks they have, including access to any relevant safety information sheet and information on any other legislation that applies to the dangerous substance.
The results of the risk assessment and the control measures put in place as a result, including their purpose and how to follow and implement them.
5) Emergency Procedures –
Information, instruction and training need to be distributed to all people, where it is required to ensure safety.
All the information, instruction and training need to be distributed in proportion to the level and type of risk.
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Other than DSEAR, employers also need to follow “ATEX” requirements –
ATEX part of DSEAR complements the BIS legislation requirements, the Equipment and Protective System Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996.
Explaining ATEX and explosive atmosphere would sound something like this –
ATEX and explosive atmospheres result from flammable gases, mists, vapours, or even combustible dust.
The chances of an explosive atmosphere increases, If those substances get mixed with air and a little source of ignition to cause an explosion.
Preventing or controlling the releases of dangerous substances and preventing sources of ignition are two of the most used ways of reducing the risk.
Some of the most common examples of explosive atmospheres are workplaces where work activities create or vapours, such as vehicle paint spraying or welding works, or places where handling fine organic dust such as grain, flour and wood.
Accessing the right equipment helps greatly in preventing any unfortunate accidents.
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