“DSEAR stands for the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. Dangerous substances can put peoples’ safety at risk from fire, explosion and corrosion of metal.” (www.hse.gov.uk)
What does DSEAR require?
According to the Health and Safety Executive, employers must:
- find out what dangerous substances are in their workplace and what the risks are
- put control measures in place to either remove those risks or, where this is not possible, control them
- put controls in place to reduce the effects of any incidents involving dangerous substances
- prepare plans and procedures to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies involving dangerous substances
- make sure employees are properly informed about and trained to control or deal with the risks from the dangerous substances
- identify and classify areas of the workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur and avoid ignition sources (from unprotected equipment, for example) in those areas.
Who needs to take DSEAR into account?
Any employer or self-employed person that makes use of or stores substances that pose a risk of fire or explosion. For example anaerobic digester plants, grain storage chambers and pesticide production. The regulations are in place to protect staff, contractors visitors and the environment from the dangers of certain substances and the effects of explosion.
The noxious gasses that are produced during the anaerobic digesting process pose a significant risk;
- In May 2014 anaerobic digester plant exploded in Shropshire causing a significant slurry spillage and risk to the local environment – no one was hurt. Full story
- In August 2014 a man was left in a critical condition following a gas explosion at a Cambridgeshire farm – he was part of a team constructing a new digestion plant. Full story
- And in February 2015 a worker lost his life following exposure to toxic gases in Dorset. The owner of the farm was fined a total £145,000 for breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. There had been a previous incident that had not been properly addressed. Read more
Prevent accidents, prevent loss of lives and stay legally compliant using DSEAR
Mark Jones, CMIOSH Health and Safety Consultant for Safety Revolution has a strong Health and Safety background, including specialising in the technical content of Safety Revolution systems and the delivery of DSEAR risk assessment and advice.
Many facilities within agriculture choose not to train or employ DSEAR specialists in-house, instead sourcing the necessary experts from a third party such as Safety Revolution. The costs associated with training are often high and so by engaging an external expert, employers and facility managers are not tempted to cut corners or attempt to manage the risks themselves, which may result in disastrous consequences as outlined above.
Be sure that your Health and Safety compliance, including where DSEAR is a factor, is properly maintained and re-assessed for effectiveness every 12 months. The implications of not adhering to DSEAR run far and wide including legally, where businesses may be lost; financially, where large fines can be imposed; personally, where the lives of yourself and others are at risk and environmentally. It is the responsibility of the employer or self-employed person to ensure that risks are lowered and eliminated wherever possible.
For best advice and to arrange a consultation for your Health and Safety requirements, call Safety Revolution, specialists in Health and Safety risk management for the agricultural industry on 0800 0281965. Or visit our website for further information.