Dsear – Explosive atmospheres & chemicals

Explosion protection is a priority for a range of industries and manufacturers, from food and pharmaceuticals to energy and chemicals. Any process involving flammable gases, mists, vapours or combustible dusts requires explosion protection measures.


What is DSEAR?

DSEAR stands for the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. Dangerous substances can put peoples’ safety at risk from fire, explosion and corrosion of metal. A Dsear report under the 2002 Dsear act is in addition to a fire risk assessment.

The requirements expect that considerations are given too all activities where either directly or indirectly an event may occur which may cause either an explosion or to release into the air in the locality of the premises particulate that may be considered harmful or a risk to others.

Where a commercial property is within the locality of residential dwellings then the expectations are that both life safety, consequential issues and risks to the public have to be covered.

Dangerous substances can put peoples’ safety at risk from fire, explosion and corrosion of metal. DSEAR puts duties on employers and the self-employed to protect people from these risks to their safety in the workplace, and to members of the public who may be put at risk by work activity.

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 or corrosion of metal. 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, dusts from foodstuffs, pressurised gases and substances corrosive to metal.

What does DSEAR require?

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 and 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 and make sure employees are properly informed about and trained to control or deal with the risks from the dangerous substances and identify and classify areas of the workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur and avoid ignition sources (from unprotected equipment, for example) in those areas.

Due to the potential issues from a fire or explosion undertaken the terms of Dsear it is essential that the client has also taken due reference from both the local FRS, the HSE and the local authority as it is likely that licenses make be required for some of the activities undertaken.

You will still need to have a formal FRA which should dovetail with the Dsear reports findings to give you a clear direction of travel for both protection measures and training on site.

Additional Documentation

Fire Detection for Hazardous Areas – Apollo Fire

How can we help?


With extensive experience partnering with high hazard industries, we have the expertise and resources to advise you regarding explosion risks, safety measures, training and more. You’ll get:

  • Expert advice on explosion protection topics
  • Safe processes and reduced explosion risk
  • Reliable support in questions of compliance

Veritas Fire Support can also serve as expert witnesses and carry out incident investigations.

Dsear reporting
Our Approach

Working closely with you, we design solutions that meet your needs, whether advising you on ATEX/NFPA or other regulatory topics, assessing explosion hazards and workplace risk or conducting inspections to ensure safe processes. The services we provide relate to:

  • ATEX
  • NFPA
  • Chemical/Powder Testing
  • Hazardous Area Classification
  • Ignition Hazards Assessment (e.g. Electrostatics, Mechanical Equipment Ignition Risk Assessment etc.)
  • Consequence Modelling
  • Explosion Vent Sizing
  • Dust Explosion Hazards (e.g. Dust Hazard Assessments – DHAs)
  • Gas/Liquid Explosion Hazards
  • Equipment Inspection
  • Incident Investigation


Veritas can support you if business in respect of this work, a bespoke appraisal of the risk issues, the required actions and liaison with other interested parties.

Contact us for a free no obligation discussion – Call 07831 222767 or 01502 797035
Email us at info@veritasfiresupport.co.uk

Dsear Risk Assessment Process

DSEAR risk assessments will depend on the type and size of your organisation or company and the number and volumes of hazardous chemicals, gases, substances and operations that need to be checked.

The Scope of Works, as required by the HSE and defined by the regulation DSEAR, is to evaluate both the risks posed and controls applied, to the potential release of any gas, vapour, mists, or dusts, resulting from the handling, use or process of any Flammable, Oxidising or Explosive substances.

This includes effective from the 1st June 2015, any substances, corrosive to metals and any gases or systems under pressure, nominally considered larger than 0.5 bar over atmospheric pressure.

Nominally, one or possibly two full days will be required on site to complete the risk assessment audit, build a “Photo library” of production processes and applications, along with any associated problems that we identify.

Thereafter, our risk assessment work is predominantly office based and continues with a full MSDS assessment to determine any potential specific hazards that may be applicable in the event of incident, such as a fire, in accordance with the requirements of regulation 8 of DSEAR. Here we are looking for the secondary fire, explosion, and toxicity potential hazards. All have to be considered.

This is normally followed by an additional three days to structure and write the DSEAR report.
Whilst we base our fees on standard equations, we cannot guarantee that they will not vary, where house-keeping and procedures are good, fees are often considerably lower, whilst others may be higher if significant failures against COSHH & DSEAR are identified. We can, however, assure you that our consultants are highly experienced in Hazardous Chemical Materials, handling, and storage, and will ensure your compliance with these regulations.

The Site Inspection

There is a necessity of the first day to meet either your Health and Safety, Process, Area or Works Manager or all. This allows us to understand your site, its activities, and processes in turn and thus the hazards associated with each. The photographic element created on this initial visit will be used within the risk assessment document to illustrate the potential gas hazard concerns against each of the eight mandatory DSEAR regulations with which you must comply.

A typical finished Gas Hazard and DSEAR document is as indicated above and will clearly indicate your problems and how they should be resolved.

IGD will also provide recommendations on priority by grouping and grading each element – High, Medium, or Low accordingly. This document can be used as a template of “work schedule” to demonstrate “mitigation” against the regulations, for your Insurance Company and other interested parties.

Once complete, a draft will be submitted for discussion with senior management, after which the document will be issued for official sign off by your management board.

As part of our assessment process we will cover all of the following aspects:

Section 1 Company Support Data (6 elements)
1.1 Brief description of projects, processes, or activities
1.2 Employee Data
1.3 Infringements
1.4 Support Documentation Appraisal
1.5 Site Services
1.6 Site Safety
Section 2 Hazards
2.1 Safe Storage Principles
2.2 Gases
2.3 Liquid Chemicals Flashpoint > 60 C
2.4 Liquid Chemicals Flashpoint < 60 C
2.5 Flammable Corrosives
2.6 Corrosives
2.7 Oxidisers – Explosives
2.8 Flammable Powders and Dust
Section 3 Storage and Segregation
3.1 Flammable Chemicals – FP < Max Ambient – Storage – Maximum Ambient is the operational Temperature Basis of Safety

3.2 Flammable Chemicals – FP > Max Ambient – Storage
3.3 Segregation Distances – Flammable Liquids
4.0 Basis of Safety
4.1 Fire Danger Element Control
4.2 Critical Failure Safety Systems
5.0 Additional Control Measures
5.1 Additional Control Measures for consideration
6.0 Permits to Work
6.1 Permits to work in operation
6.2 POW in respect to Contractors
7.0 Extraction / Ventilation
8.0 Process Conditions
8.1 Temperature Control
8.2 Pressure Control
9.0 Pressure Safety System Regulation
9.1 Fixed PSS
9.2 Portable PSS
10.0 Sources of Ignition
10.1 General conditions
10.2 Sources of Ignition to eliminated
11.0 Ex Zones
11.1 Zoning and control of explosive atmospheres

11.2 No of Zones Required
11.3 Document Control
12.0 Safe Operating Procedures
12.1 SOP Control
12.2 SOP Review
12.3 SOP Training
12.4 SOP default to “Stop”
13.0 Transportation of dangerous substances
13.1 Will dangerous substances be transported around the site?
14.0 PPE & RPE
14.1 PPE and RPE Control
14.2 PPE Issued
14.3 RPE Issued
15.0 Dangerous Substance Waste Control
15.1 Waste Types
15.2 Documentation and Compliance
15.3 Waste Collection
15.4 Solvent Contamination
16.0 Training
17.0 Emergency Procedures
17.1 Process Applications
17.2 External Influenced Emergencies

17.3 Fire Precaution
17.4 Fire Alarm and Equipment
17.5 Extinguisher Media Types
17.6 Fire Response Procedures
17.7 Chemical Spills
18.0 First Aid
18.1 First Aid Equipment
18.2 First Aid Personnel
18.3 Specialist Rescue Equipment and Requirements
19.0 Frequency and Severity
19.1 Frequency
19.2 Persons put at Risk
20.0 Score Level of Risk
21.0 Identified Risks, Severity and Recommendations
21.1 – as required Priority of Work required
22.0 Sign off and Approvals
23.0 Appendix Support Data as required.

By ensuring we cover all of these areas correctly, we will enable you to Identify, Understand and Manage your Risks effectively.

Contact us for a free no obligation discussion – Call 07831 222767 or 01502 797035
Email us at info@veritasfiresupport.co.uk


Dangerous vs. Safe batteries, Explosion and fire test! Credit: GWL Power

The Birmingham custard factory explosion. Credit: Epicreconstruction

Combustible Wood Dust Explosions. Credit: WorkSafeBC

Dust Explosion – Penn State Extension Demonstration. Credit: AgSafety4U

Additional Reading