Controlling fire and explosion risks in the workplace

A brief guide to the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations

Please note: These regulations are subject to amendment from 1 June 2015.

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This leaflet gives a brief introduction to the requirements of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).

It explains what employers may need to do to protect their employees from fire and explosion risks. It will also be useful to employees and their representatives. This revised version has clarified the advice but the guidance remains fundamentally the same.

Changes to DSEAR from 1 June 2015

From June 2015 DSEAR also covers substances that are corrosive to metals and gases under pressure. It places a formal requirement on employers to assess the risks for substances if classified for these properties and put in place suitable control and mitigation measures.

It is anticipated that the impact of these changes will be minimal because the intrinsic hazards of the substances being used or present in workplaces is unchanged. The need to carry out a risk assessment, and have in place procedures for the safe use of chemicals not currently covered by DSEAR, is already necessary to meet the general requirements of the HSW Act 1974, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. Businesses already complying with these duties are therefore unlikely to need to take any additional action.

Since April 2015 mines are no longer exempt from DSEAR regulations 5(4)(c), 7 and 11.

Minor amendments are being made to this edition to reflect the changes, although the guidance remains substantially the same. An amended version will follow in due course. Basic up to date guidance on DSEAR regulations is available in the Fire and explosion site.

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Updated: 2021-11-12