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Dangerous Substances in Harbour Areas Regulations 1987 (DSHAR)

Current position

HSE consulted on proposals to replace the Dangerous Substances in Harbour Areas Regulations 1987 (DSHAR) from 28 October to 23 December 2015. The Summary Report of the consultation is now published.

Subject to Parliamentary Approval DSHAR will be replaced by new Dangerous Goods in Harbour Areas Regulations 2016 (DGHAR) from 1 October 2016. A new shorter Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) to support the new regulations will also be available and current guidance and ACOP will be withdrawn.

The new draft DGHAR ACOP is published and available.

In the meantime the current regulations and the supporting guidance in HS(R)27 A Guide to Dangerous Substances in Harbour Areas Regulations 1987 and the Dangerous Substances in Harbour Areas ACOP (COP 18) still apply.

Duties under the Dangerous Substances in Harbour Areas Regulations 1987

The following summary is taken from the explanatory note to the Regulations. It should not be taken as part of the Regulations themselves.

The Regulations provide for the control of carriage, loading, unloading and storage of dangerous substances in harbours and harbour areas. They are divided into 10 parts

Part I

Interpretation and application

Part II

Entry of dangerous substances - duty to notify harbour master of the intent to bring a dangerous substance into a harbour /harbour area; power of harbour master under certain conditions to prohibit or require the removal containers/vehicles/vessels

Part III

Marking and navigation of vessels - vessels to carry red flag/light when carrying certain dangerous substances.

Part IV

Handling of dangerous substances - duty to handle dangerous goods safely and take all necessary precautions to prevent an explosion - also to ensure all who work with dangerous substances are trained.

Part V

Liquefied dangerous substances in bulk - requirement that vessels are suitable and suitable precautions taken. Permission to be obtained from the harbour master

Part VI

Packaging and Labelling - requirement for freight containers containing dangerous substances to be accompanied by a certificate stating they have been properly packed and require precautions to be taken so that all freight containers can be unloaded safely.

Part VII

Emergency arrangements and untoward incidents - each harbour authority handling dangerous substances to prepare an emergency plan. Duties also placed on berth operators to take safety precautions and ships masters to notify any untoward incident involving a dangerous substance that might create a risk of serious personally injury.


Storage of dangerous substances - Operator of storage tanks used during loading/unloading of dangerous substances from a ship to consult the fire authority and take appropriate safety precautions. Freight containers, portable tanks and receptacles containing dangerous substances to be stored safely; vehicles containing dangerous substances to be parked safely.

Part IX

Requirement to obtain an explosives licence when handling explosives in harbour areas, in tidal waters of Great Britain or in territorial waters around Great Britain. Arrangements to be made for safe storage, safety precautions and keeping of records.

Part X

Miscellaneous and general. Harbour authorities empowered to make byelaws relating to dangerous substances; harbour authorities the enforcing authority for certain parts.

See also ICHCA Safety Panel Briefing Pamphlet No 6 ‘Guidance on the preparation of emergency plans’.

Updated 2016-07-14