Understanding and Managing Dangerous Substances in the Workplace
We understand the importance of protecting the health, safety, and welfare of all individuals in the workplace. One critical aspect of workplace safety is the proper management of dangerous substances.
These substances, if not controlled effectively, can pose significant risks such as fire, explosion, and corrosion of metal.
In this blog, we highlight key points to focus on when it comes to managing dangerous substances in your workplace.
Identifying Dangerous Substances
Dangerous substances can come in various forms, including flammable liquids, solvents, powders, and dusts. Identifying these substances is essential as they pose significant risks.
If your workplace involves the storage, use, or generation of vapours or dust environments, you likely fall under the scope of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) [^1].
Legal Obligations as an Employer
As an employer, your first legal duty, defined under the Health and Safety at Work Act and subsequent statutory instruments, is to prioritise the health, safety, and welfare of everyone at work.
The DSEAR regulations specifically require employers to identify all dangerous substances present or used in the workplace. Conducting a risk assessment is essential to evaluate the likelihood of substance release in normal and abnormal conditions, as well as assess the consequences of fire or explosion events.
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The Unique Approach of DSEAR Risk Assessments
DSEAR risk assessments differ from general risk assessments. Their main objective is to protect lives and determine the need for special measures. These assessments require specialist skills and knowledge to understand how chemicals behave under varying conditions.
At Compass HSC, our team possesses extensive experience and expertise in conducting DSEAR risk assessments. We understand the complexities involved and our team can guide you effectively through the process. 
Understanding Chemical Characteristics
A solid understanding of key chemical terms is crucial for a competent DSEAR assessment. Important characteristics include vapour density, flash point, boiling point, vapour pressure, and dispersion rate.
Additionally, other factors such as containment, quantity, frequency of use, and usage methods must be considered in the assessment.
Determination of Hazardous Area Classifications:
Carrying out a DSEAR assessment aims to determine the risk of fire or explosion, leading to the implementation of special precautions. The classification of hazardous areas is defined by standards such as BS-EN 60079, which provides detailed information on equipment selection, protection, inspection, and maintenance of electrical installations in hazardous areas [^1].
If you would like more technical information on determining hazardous areas, we have a separate article dedicated to this topic. It covers zone classifications, assessment processes, and factors to consider when classifying hazardous areas. Read our technical article.
Not quite sure where to start? Contact the team for a free consultation!
At Compass HSC Ltd, we have extensive experience and expertise in conducting Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Risk Assessments. With a background in the chemical process manufacturing sector, we understand the complexities involved in managing dangerous substances.
Your Safety is Our Priority: At Compass HSC, we go beyond expectations to ensure your workplace’s safety. With our proven track record and commitment to excellence, you can trust us as your reliable partner in managing health and safety risks. Don’t compromise when it comes to workplace safety.
Choose Compass HSC today and protect what matters most.
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Compass HSC – DSEAR Consulting