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The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) require employers to control the risks to safety from fire and explosions. They also set minimum requirements for the protection of workers from fire and explosion risks related to dangerous substances and potentially explosive atmospheres. The regulations apply to employers and the self-employed at most workplaces in Great Britain where a dangerous substance is, or could be present.

What are dangerous substances?

Dangerous substances are any substances used or present at work that could, if not properly controlled, cause harm to people as a result of a fire or explosion. They can be found in nearly all workplaces and include such things as solvents, paints, varnishes, flammable gases, such as liquid petroleum gas (LPG), dusts from machining and sanding operations and dusts from foodstuffs.

What does DSEAR require?

Employers must:

  • Find out what dangerous substances are in their workplace and what the fire and explosion 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.

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