What is DSEAR and how do I comply?
Some substances commonly found in workplace environments, such as gaseous fuels as well as petrol, diesel, and ethanol, present a danger to human life.
These dangerous substances are defined under the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).
Businesses that handle or store dangerous substances must show that they have undertaken a documented review of the risks and hazards and have taken all reasonable and practical steps to prevent or control the risks.
Does my workplace need a DSEAR Risk Assessment?
Any workplace that stores, handles, or displays hazardous and/or potentially damaging substances must comply with DSEAR, including commonly occurring substances such as solvents, paints and varnishes, fuels, and pressurised or flammable gases, such as LPG.
Common applications include industrial and commercial premises, such as petrol filling stations, forecourts, fleet and construction sites.
Who is responsible?
Ultimately, the site operator is responsible for DSEAR compliance. However, assessments take time and need to be carried out on-site by someone with the necessary knowledge, skills and experience to identify the potential for fire and explosive atmospheres, apply the relevant legislation and understand the implications of unintentional non-compliance. This could be an employee or other competent person, or an external specialist.
Complacency is not an option when storing hazardous and potentially damaging substances and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Regular site audits and spot-checks help to ensure compliance with DSEAR and other relevant legislation, for example, the Oil Storage Regulations (OSR), based on the individual site, service station or fleet.
How often does a DSEAR Risk Assessment need to be reviewed?
The risk assessment must be routinely reviewed and updated at appropriate intervals, but no specific time frame is given. It’s important to be flexible, taking into account any operational changes or updated guidance which could impact DSEAR.
For example, changes to quantity or type of dangerous substance would trigger a review. Or, in the event of an incident or near miss, the DSEAR assessment should be revisited and risks re-evaluated to ensure mitigation measures remain sufficient.
What does a DSEAR Risk Assessment cover?
· Identify dangerous substances and risk/s.
· Identify who might be harmed, including employees, contractors, or members of the public.
· Evaluate risk, specify and implement control measures and mitigation. Under DSEAR, the first course of action is always to eliminate risk by substituting the dangerous substance, however, this is not always practical, for example, petrol cannot be substituted at a filling station. If the risk cannot be eliminated, DSEAR specifies control measures and mitigation measures that must be applied in priority order.
· Be written down if there are more than 5 employees.
· Be regularly reviewed and updated.
Employers must use the findings of the risk assessment to establish appropriate emergency procedures, arrangements, and warning or other communication systems to deal with any accidents or incidents.
Employees must be given the appropriate information, instruction, and training to be able to safeguard themselves.
Where can I find more information?
HSE Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) L138 provides practical advice on how to comply with the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).
This leaflet Controlling fire and explosion risks in the workplace INDG370 provides a short guide to DSEAR for small and medium-sized businesses.
Does your business store fuel or dangerous substances?
If so, TSG Solutions can undertake a site audit and/or DSEAR Assessment to ensure compliance with current national legislation.
To find out more, click here.