Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) has been amended (1st June 2015) to cover substances that are corrosive to metals & gases under pressure.

It places a formal requirement on employers to assess the risks for these and to put in place suitable control and mitigation measures.

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 or corrosion of metal. They include such things as solvents, paints, varnishes, flammable gases, such as liquid petroleum gas (LPG), dusts from machining and sanding operations, dusts from foodstuffs, pressurised gases and substances corrosive to metal.

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

The impact of these changes should be minimal because the need to carry out a risk assessment, and have in place procedures for the safe use of chemicals, is already necessary to meet the general requirements of the HSW Act 1974, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.