DSEAR replaced various items of legislation in 2002, consolidating regulation relating to the management and control of risks to safety posed by:
Some of the largest fires in the UK have been due to inadequately controlled ignition sources in areas where an explosive atmosphere is or becomes present, caused, for example, by highly flammable liquids or combustible dusts.
Where all of the necessary measures have been taken to properly comply with DSEAR then the risk of a fire and explosion can usually be satisfactorily controlled, but if they are not in place then lives and business can be put at serious risk.
If it is identified that an area might have an explosive atmosphere (even for short periods), it must be allocated a ‘zone’, as defined by the regulations.
The DSEAR zones are:
Entry points into ‘zoned’ areas must be marked with black-edged triangular signs that have yellow backgrounds and are marked with the letters ‘EX’ in black (as described in Schedule 4 of DSEAR). Additional specific requirements may apply, in addition to the above, depending on the area being assessed – your competent person must know and understand these, as well as being able to identify what equipment you are already using within ‘zoned’ areas.
For risk reduction, the regulations set out an order of priority in which mitigation measures, that could prevent the spread of a fire or explosion and reduce the potential number of employees exposed, should be applied.
These measures include:
Where explosive atmospheres may occur, equipment (including electrical equipment) and protective systems must be selected on the basis of the requirements of these regulations.
With regards to DSEAR, only equipment that meets the following categories, as defined by the Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations must be used. These categories indicate whether they are suitable for use around certain gases, vapours, mists, and dusts.
NAMOS sets out notification requirements for hazardous sites where dangerous substances may be present. For example, the Fire and Rescue Service and the relevant enforcing authority (for the purpose of the Health and Safety at Work Act) must be notified about any site with a total quantity of 25 tonnes or more of dangerous substances (as defined) and provided with specified information.
The regulations also include requirements for warning signage and further notification when specified changes take place at the site.