DSEAR: your questions answered

DSEAR, or the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002, requires employers to control the risks to safety from fire, explosions and substances corrosive to metals.

If you’re new to DSEAR, or you’ve got questions about how DSEAR applies to your business, Citation’s Health & Safety experts have put together this handy, myth-busting Q&A to help you get to grips with the legislation and what you need to do about it.

What is the primary purpose of DSEAR?

The primary purpose of DSEAR is to protect workers and others who may be at risk from dangerous substances that can cause a fire, explosion or similar energy-releasing event, such as a spontaneous combustion event.

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 set minimum requirements for the protection of workers from fire and explosion risks related to dangerous substances and potentially explosive atmospheres. The Regulations apply wherever a dangerous substance is, or is liable to be, used or present in connection with working.

Does my business require a DSEAR assessment?

Your business may require a DSEAR assessment if you store and use certain dangerous substances or carry out processes where there is a potential for dusts to be produced which, when mixed with air, could cause an explosive atmosphere.

Examples of activities where DSEAR is likely to apply include storage of petrol, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), paints, varnishes and solvents and processes such as milling and sanding operations, paint spray treatments for wood products and large-scale food production where flour dusts are being released.

Does DSEAR only apply to premises where people are employed to work?

DSEAR applies to both employers and the self-employed. In DSEAR guidance you may also come across the term duty holder - this means the person ultimately responsible for the organisation or business actions. It’s the duty holder that would have ultimate responsibility when it comes to DSEAR.

I have a fire risk assessment; do I need a DSEAR risk assessment too?

A fire risk assessment and a DSEAR risk assessment both consider the risk of fire and explosion. However, a DSEAR risk assessment will specifically take into account the presence of dangerous substances and their effect on general fire precautions/safety requirements. Your business may require both assessments. A fire risk assessment could identify the need for a DSEAR assessment.

DSEAR risk assessments should be carried out by competent persons with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to identify the potential for fire and explosive atmospheres.

I review my fire risk assessment once a year, can I review my DSEAR assessment at the same time?

Employers should plan to review their risk assessments at regular intervals. The time between reviews depends on the nature of the risk and degree of change in activities. They should also be reviewed if significant changes have taken place or the employer concludes they’re no longer valid and following an accident or dangerous occurrence.

How can Citation help me?

If you’re a Citation client and you want to discuss DSEAR and whether it’s a requirement in your business, you can always call our 24-hour Health & Safety advice line on 0345 844 4848. And remember, you can find several factsheets and a safety video when you log in to our Atlas platform.

Not a Citation client yet? Give our team a call on 0345 844 1111 to chat through your business needs and to get the ball rolling.

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