Is DSEAR an issue that your business needs to comply with? If you’re not sure then why not take a look at the HSE simple guidance: http://www.hse.gov.uk/fireandexplosion/about.htm#?eban=rss- .
Because DSEAR covers such a wide range of explosion risks then it is an area that many businesses overlook and from experience only look at when requested to by their Insurers or the HSE. Over the past 12 months or so we have seen a marked increase in demand for professional DSEAR assessments and around 50% come as a result of insurer or HSE requests.
“So why do we need to worry?” many businesses ask; “is this not already covered in our fire risk assessments?” The answer is no; although fire risk assessment when undertaken by suitably competent persons will identify some of the risks, they don`t address all of the issues. In fact we often find that when undertaking DSEAR assessments we point out risks that should have been in the Fire risk assessment.
Okay, but why is this important?
We tend to find that where businesses are ignorant of the risks then so are the workforce and so unsafe practices are allowed to develop. Take for example a large Midlands based company we have worked with who use GRP products in large volumes …
With this product, the standard is to use high quantities of Acetone (a highly flammable and volatile solvent). As the employees really did not understand the risks, they had decided to turn off the local extraction systems; so increasing the volumes of flammable vapour building up in the work areas. On top of this the employees were making toast and tea in the work areas; introducing sources of ignition for the vapours. Thankfully there had not been an explosion; but the risks were being significantly increased.
Another example can be seen on the HSE news where a recent prosecution came about after two workers narrowly avoided being killed or seriously injured after an explosion from a leaking gas pipe. The men were attempting to repair the leaking pipe by drilling a metal plate in place; the gas inside the pipe ignited sending a jet of flames shooting from the hole. The company, Tata, were found guilty of failing to have an adequate and suitable risk assessment and were fined £30,000.
Statistics show that many businesses fail to recover from a major event such as a fire or explosion and the failure to manage DSEAR risks can leave a business vulnerable to such an event. So to avoid putting your business at risk, take a first step by looking at the HSE simple guidance and then if you need professional assistance, come and talk to the specialists.