DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES EXPLOSIVE ATMOSPHERES (DSEAR)
The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) require employers to control the risks to safety from fire, explosions and substances corrosive to metals.
Dangerous substances can put peoples’ safety at risk from fire, explosion and corrosion of metal. DSEAR puts duties on employers and the self-employed to protect people from these risks to their safety in the workplace, and to members of the public who may be put at risk by work activity.
What are dangerous Substances
Dangerous substances are any substances present at work that could if not adequately controlled, cause harm to people. This may be as result of a fire, explosion or corrosion of metal. These substances can be found in nearly all workplaces and include things such as solvents, paints, varnishes, pressurized gases and flammable gases – such as liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Dusts of any kind from sanding, milling or foodstuff that when spread in air to form a cloud which could explode.
Many of these substances can also create health risks, for example, they may be toxic or an irritant. These kinds of risks are covered under separate health law such as the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH). It is important to consider both safety and health issues when looking at risks from substances in the workplace.
What is a DSEAR risk assessment
DSEAR places duties on employers (and the self-employed, who are considered employers for the purposes of the Regulations) to assess and eliminate or reduce risks from dangerous substances. The HSE requires that to comply with DSEAR Employers must:
When does DSEAR Apply:
Apart from certain activities involving ships, DSEAR applies whenever:
Fires and explosions create harmful physical effects – thermal radiation, overpressure effects and oxygen depletion. These effects can also be caused by other energetic events such as runaway exothermic reactions involving chemicals or decomposition of unstable substances such as peroxides. These events are also covered by DSEAR. Gases under pressure can also cause explosions creating harmful effects. Substances that are corrosive to metal may cause damage to metal/metal containing structures which could result in reduced structural integrity.
The following examples illustrate the type of activities covered by DSEAR:
Where does DSEAR Apply
DSEAR applies to workplaces where dangerous substances are present, used, or produced in quantities. Your organization may be required to have a DSE Risk Assessment carried out if there is a potential for dangerous substances, or processes to cause an explosive atmosphere.
Workplaces are any premises or parts of premises used for work. This includes places such as industrial and commercial premises, land-based and offshore installations, mines and quarries, construction sites, vehicles and vessels, etc. Places such as the common parts of shared buildings, private roads and paths on industrial estates and road works on public roads are also premises – as are houses and other domestic premises, if people are at work there.
Some requirements of DSEAR which deal specifically with explosive atmospheres, do not apply to industries such as offshore oil and gas production.
I have a Fire Risk Assessment, is that the same as a DSEAR Assessment?
Both the Fire Risk assessments and DSEAR risk assessments will highlight the risk of a fire or an explosion. Should you require a DSEAR assessment It is likely that your fire risk assessment will identify that requirement. A DSEAR assessment will in further detail assess the the risks of fires and explosions caused by dangerous substances stored in the workplace. These are two separate documents and both should be carried out by a competent person with the relevant training, knowledge and expertise.
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