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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.
What is DSEAR?
DSEAR stands for Dangerous Substances Explosive Atmosphere Regulations. It is a set of regulations put in place in the United Kingdom to protect workers from the risks of fire and explosion arising from work activities involving dangerous substances. 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.
DSEAR Regulation was passed in 2002 to protect people from the risk of fires caused by corrosion of metal and explosions within the workplace.
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.
“Your Workplace May Have More Dsear Risks Than You Think, But You Don’t
Need To Worry As Orbis Environmental And Safety Is Always There For You.”
What Are DSEAR Regulations?
DSEAR (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations) are regulations put in place in the United Kingdom to protect workers from the risks of fire and explosion arising from work activities involving dangerous substances.
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.
In practice, this means that employers have a legal obligation to put in place management, control, and mitigation measures, if it is not possible to replace the dangerous substances with something more innocuous.
DSEAR regulations are enforced by the HSE, alongside others in certain specific circumstances (e.g., local authorities or petroleum licensing authorities).
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.
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 to be 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 £2200 to £3400 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 HAC?
HAC stands for Hazardous Area Classification. This is the detailed calculations that consider all of the substance key information such as ventilation, evaporation rate, release rate, temperature etc to determine how big of a zone exists and how prevalent to determine a zone classification.
Zone 20 / 21 / 22 – Dusts and powders
Zone 0 / 1 / 2 – Fumes and Vapours or Gasses
We then display this in 2 formats. Test to clearly explain the size, extent, and classification of the HAC zone and also secondly, we create a side or overhead plan diagram showing in visual format the extent of the zones.
This is useful for training and communicating to staff and contractors.
How do Fire and Explosions Cause Harm To Your Employees?
Fire and explosions cause harmful physical effects like thermal radiation, overpressure effects and oxygen depletion.
Who Can Carry Out A DSEAR Assessment?
A DSEAR (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations) assessment is typically carried out by a qualified and experienced person who has expertise in the storage, handling, and use of dangerous substances in the workplace. The assessor may be an employee of the company or an external consultant with relevant qualifications and experience. The main responsibilities of the DSEAR assessor is to identify the hazardous substances in the workplace, evaluate the risks they pose to the safety of employees and the general public, and to suggest or implement measures to control those risks.
In order to carry out a DSEAR assessment, the assessor should have knowledge of relevant legislation, industry standards, and good practice guidance. They should also have knowledge of the specific processes, equipment and materials used in the workplace. He should have good communication skills and be able to work with other members of the organisation in identifying and controlling risks.
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
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.
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.
“Orbis Environmental And Safety Is One Of The Most Trusted Names In The Uk,
When It Comes To The Company’s Health And Safety Matters.”
What Is An Explosive Atmosphere?
An explosive atmosphere is the presence of gas, mist, dust or vapour in the atmosphere, as it has the potential to catch fire or explode.
However, one should remember that an explosive atmosphere doesn’t mean that an explosion will occur each time, but if a fire occurs, it will move rapidly and especially; if it creates an explosion in a confined space.
What Kind Of Things Are Explosive?
If you are wondering what type of things are commonly found in the workplace that are potentially explosive and therefore covered by DSEAR, this list is a reasonable starting point:
- Oil and solvent based Paints and varnishes
- Flammable gases (e.g., liquid petroleum gas)
- Dust from sanding or machining (I.E., wood and Card)
- Pressurised gases and Cylinders
- Gas Mains supply
- Substances that are corrosive to metal
- Spray booths
- Flammable Paints and thinners
- Acetone and solvent cleaners
- Fuels such as Kerosene, Diesel, LPG, and Petrol
- A1 Jet Fuels
- Strong Acids (e.g., >80% Acetic Acid)
- Food powders and ingredients
- Four and Sugar
- Welding Gasses
- Ammonia and some other refrigerant substances and Refrigerant Gasses
- Biomass fuel dusts
- Anaerobic Digestion process and gas
Did you also know – Combustible substances such as Oils and Lubricants that are under pressure can also be classed as flammable when sprayed under pressure?
Example – When a liquid is sprayed under pressure like in a leak from a pressurised pipe, it atomises to be a mist and the flashpoint is significantly reduced.
What Is Considered as Workplace When It Comes To DSEAR?
DSEAR applies to most of the work premises where there is a presence of dangerous substances.
According to the DSEAR regulations, a workplace is any premises or parts of premises used for work.
The workplace is any place that is –
→ Commercial and industrial premises
→ Land-based and offshore installations
→ Mines and quarries
→ Vehicles and vessels
→ Construction sites
→ Common parts of shared buildings
→ Private roads and other domestic premises if people are working there
What Are The Control Measures One Should Keep In Mind?
DSEAR requires control measures to be applied when the risk can’t be eliminated with the following priority order:
→ Reduce or minimize the number of dangerous substances
→ Prevent or minimise the release of dangerous substances
→ Regulate release of dangerous substances at the source
→ Avoid or minimize the formation of a dangerous atmosphere
→ Managing ignition sources
→ Keeping incompatible substances apart
→ Collect, contain and remove substance release to a safe place through ventilation
→ Avoid and prevent adverse conditions that could lead to danger
What Are The Main Requirements Of The DSEAR Regulations for Employers and The Self-Employed?
According to the DSEAR, employers must –
→ Carry out a dsear risk assessment of all activities that involve dangerous substances
→ Follow all measure standards to eliminate and reduce risk possibility to the least level
→ Provide information and training to the employees for the potential risks and use of equipment
→ Classifying and marking zones clearly
What Safety Measures do The DSEAR Regulations Require?
According to the DSEAR regulations, employers must eliminate or take measures to control and reduce the safety risks to minimise the potentially harmful effects of fire, explosion or any other similar event.
→ There are two ways to eliminate or minimise the risk –
Substitution is a process where a substance is replaced by a less dangerous substance or the process of carrying out the tasks and activities.
Let’s say, for example, replacing a low-flashpoint solvent with a higher flashpoint solvent.
Modification of the process –
By making some modifications in the process, you can lower the risk of fire and explosion, for example, changing the way of activities where hazardous substances are involved in the process.
If there is no way to reduce or modify the task activities, it is highly recommended that businesses follow all the precautionary measures to reduce the events of fire and explosions.
What Is The Main Purpose Of DSEAR?
The main purpose of DSEAR is to protect workers who are at risk from dangerous substances causing fire, explosion or similar energy-releasing events like spontaneous combustion events.
Does Your Business Require a DSEAR Assessment?
If your business is dealing with certain dangerous substances or carry out processes that cause an explosive atmosphere, then you need to carry out a DSEAR assessment.
If you have a business related to the storage of petrol, LPG – Liquefied Petroleum Gas, paints, varnishes and solvents and processes as milling and sanding operations, paint spray treatments for wood products and large-scale food production where flour dust is being released.
Do I Need DSEAR Risk Assessment If I Have Fire Risk Assessment?
Both Fire Risk Assessment and DSEAR Risk assessment examines the risk of fire and explosion.
DSEAR Risk Assessment identifies the presence of dangerous substances and their effects on general fire precautions and safety requirements.
In contrast, a fire risk assessment could identify the need for a DSEAR assessment.
Moreover, a fire risk assessment should be carried out by a competent person with enough knowledge, skills and experience to identify the potential for fire and explosive atmospheres.
Do I Need To Review My Fire & DSEAR Assessment At The Same Time?
The time between the two reviews depends on the nature of the risk and the degree of change in activities.
Plus, if there are any significant changes that have taken place or if employers feel that they are at more risk for following an accident or dangerous occurrence.
How Orbis Environmental and Safety Can Help Me?
At Orbis Environmental and Safety, we provide Health and Safety consultancy to small to large businesses with the trust of over 50+ clients over a short period of time.
If you are looking for any Health and Safety matters for your company, you can visit our Contact Us page, fill in the details, and we will contact you as soon as possible.
We are always more than happy to support all of our clients with the utmost integrity and trustworthy services. We use the term support as we feel when we are working with our
Customers, we work together.
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.
If you are looking for any Health and Safety matters for your company, you can visit our Contact Us page, fill in the details, and we will contact you as soon as possible.
We are always more than happy to support all of our clients with the utmost integrity and trustworthy services.