New fire regulations come into force

New regulations to control fire and explosion risks from dangerous substances and potentially explosive atmospheres came into force in the UK yesterday, 9 December 2002.

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) will implement the requirements of two European Union Directives: the safety requirements of the Chemical Agents Directive (CAD); and the requirements of the Explosive Atmospheres Directive (ATEX 137).

DSEAR will apply to all dangerous substances at nearly every business in the UK. It sets minimum requirements for the protection of workers from fire and explosion risks related to dangerous substances and potentially explosive atmospheres.

The main requirements of DSEAR are that employers and the self-employed must carry out an assessment of the fire and explosion risks of any work activities involving dangerous substances. They must also provide measures to eliminate the identified fire and explosion risks; apply measures to control risks and to mitigate the detrimental effects of a fire or explosion. This includes providing equipment and procedures to deal with accidents and emergencies as well as providing employees with information and precautionary training.

A free leaflet, Fire And Explosion – How Safe is Your Workplace: A short guide to the Dangersous Substances and Explosive Atmosphers Regulations, to assist small and medium-sized businesses has been published. A web page for DSEAR, containing guidance on the new regulations, can be found at: <A HREF=’http://www.hse.gov.uk/spd/content/dsear.htm’>HSE</A>

On the web