DSEAR Risk Assessments & DSEAR Regulations

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DSEAR Risk Assessments & DSEAR Regulations

The current UK DSEAR regulations and DSEAR Risk Assessments were originally birthed from two ATEX Directives:

  • ATEX 94/9/EC Directive – Also known as the ATEX 95 Equipment Directive – A directive adopted by the European Union (EU) to facilitate free trade in the EU by aligning the technical and legal requirements in the member states for products intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.
  • ATEX 1999/92/EC Directive – Also known as the ATEX 137 Workplace Directive – A directive that sets minimum requirements for improving the safety and health of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres.


What Is DSEAR?

In the UK, the ATEX Worker Protection Directive was implemented by means of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR), which were issued in December 2002.

As of July 2003, it became mandatory that all new plants must be immediately compliant with DSEAR before they become operational.

DSEAR is therefore in place to protect people from the risk of fires caused by explosion and corrosion of metal within the workplace.

From 2015, DSEAR also covered the risk caused by gases under pressure and substances that are corrosive to metals.  This inclusion was brought about to allow for changes in the EU Chemicals Agents Directive, the aspects of the physical hazard of which are enacted in Great Britain through DSEAR.

DSEAR now puts into effect requirements from two European Directives: the Chemical Agents Directive (98/24/EC) and the Explosive Atmospheres Directive (99/92/EC).


What Is A Dangerous Substance?

DSEAR defines a “dangerous substance” as:

  • A substance or preparation which meets the criteria in the approved classification and labeling guide for classification as a substance or preparation which is explosive, oxidising, extremely flammable, highly flammable, or flammable, whether or not that substance or preparation is classified under the CLP Regulation.
  • A substance or preparation which because of its physio-chemical or chemical properties and the way it is used or is present in the workplace creates a risk, not being a substance or preparation as defined above.
  • Any dust, in the form of solid particles, fibrous materials, or otherwise which can form an explosive mixture with air or an explosive atmosphere, not being a substance or preparation as defined above.
  • Under the EU CLP Regulation, there are a number of substances that now meet the criteria for classification as a flammable liquid which did not do so in the past. Substances that now meet the criteria for classification include, for example, diesel, gas oil, and light heating oils.

The HSE identifies a “dangerous substance” as any substances used or present in a workplace that could, potentially if not properly controlled, cause harm to individuals as a result of a fire or explosion. Therefore requiring a DSEAR Risk Assessment.

Realistically, these substances can be found in nearly all workplaces. For example:

  • Solvents
  • Paints
  • Varnishes
  • Vapors
  • Mists
  • Flammable gases
  • Dust
  • Flours
  • Substances corrosive to metal.


Which Industries Require DSEAR Assessments?

DSEAR regulations apply whenever there is work being carried out by an employer (or self-employed person) or if a dangerous substance is present (or is liable to be present) at the workplace.

Another situation that may require a DSEAR Risk Assessment is if the dangerous substance could be a risk to the safety of people as a result of fires, explosions, or similar energetic events or through corrosion to metal.

The list below is not exhaustive but industries could include:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Biogas Production and Management
  • Chemical
  • Coal Mining
  • Coal Processing
  • Construction
  • Engineering
  • Food & Drink
  • Healthcare
  • Laboratories
  • Landfill Gas Management
  • Manufacturing
  • Marine
  • Paint Manufacturers
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Plastics
  • Power Generation
  • Storage
  • Transport & Logistics
  • Welding
  • Waste Management Industry
  • Wood Processing


What Are The Workplace DSEAR Regulations?

DSEAR puts duties on employers and the self-employed to protect people from risks to their safety from fires, explosions, and similar events in the workplace, this includes members of the public who may be put at risk by work activity.

The ATEX Worker Protection Directive requires a so-called ‘Explosion Protection Document’ (EPD) to be produced to bring together in a single document all the various aspects of compliance with the Directive.

DSEAR does not specifically refer to an EPD but does require that documentation exists to detail significant findings of the explosion risk assessment and to demonstrate organisational arrangements. However, it is recommended that an EPD is produced.

This need not, however, repeat risk assessments undertaken under other legislation such as COSHH and the MHSW Regulations, but merely reference the appropriate documents.

The EPD must be produced before the commencement of work and revised when changes occur in the workplace or organisation of work.

The major duties associated with DSEAR compliance can be found in the following HSE regulations:

  • Regulation 5: Risk Assessment
  • Regulation 6: Elimination or reduction of risk
  • Regulation 7: Area classification
  • Regulation 8: Accidents, incidents, and emergencies
  • Regulation 9: Training and Information
  • Regulation 10: Identification of containers and pipelines
  • Regulation 11: Duty of co-ordination


What Does A DSEAR Risk Assessment Entail?

Businesses must first ensure they know what dangerous substances are in their workplace and what the potential explosion and fire risks are.

Once identified, your business should then put control measures in place to either remove those risks or, where this is not possible, control them.

Control measures should also be put in place to reduce the effects of any incidents involving dangerous substances and their processes.

Plans and procedures will need to be prepared to deal with potential future accidents, incidents, and emergencies involving dangerous substances.

Businesses must make sure employees are properly informed about and trained to control or deal with the risks from the dangerous substances and be able to identify and classify areas of the workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur and avoid ignition sources (from unprotected equipment, for example) in those areas.


How Often Should A DSEAR Assessment Be Carried Out?

Like any other risk assessment, a DSEAR Risk Assessment must be routinely updated and reviewed at appropriate intervals.

We recommend that it is updated at least every 3-5 years to make sure you are, however, no defined time is given for a review of a DSEAR assessment; the review of such is usually dependent upon various factors. Give us a call to discuss.


Experts In DSEAR Risk Assessments

ECL’s experienced and knowledgeable Health and Safety consultants can guide you through the process
of producing and delivering the required standard of management and documentation to satisfy the
requirements of DSEAR.

Our DSEAR assessment reports provide clear recommendations on all actions required to be taken to ensure the safety of visitors, employees, and other people who may be put at risk, including members of the public, to achieve compliance with the DSEAR regulations and limit any risks for the premises.

Contact us via our Enquiry Form or call us on 01443 841 760 for any queries regarding our wide range of services including Stack Emissions Testing, LEV Testing, and Workplace Noise Monitoring