Substances presenting fire and explosion risks

These substances are hazardous to safety on the basis of their physicochemical properties, and are subject to other legislation (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations, DSEAR, 2002). These will include substances which are:

  •   Explosive
  • Oxidising
  • Flammable (flash point below 550C).
  • Highly flammable (flash point below 210C).
  • Extremely flammable (flash point below 00C and boiling point equal to or less than 350C).

However, many substances that are hazardous to safety are also hazardous to health. The principles of control to be applied under COSHH (discussed in section 6c) will generally also satisfy DSEAR for laboratory scale use, and for convenience the COSHH assessment form may be used for both, but in addition DSEAR requires employers to:

  • Determine what dangerous substances are used in the workplace and specifically assess the fire and explosion risks
    • Devise control measures to eliminate or control risks and mitigate effects of any incident
    • Develop emergency procedures
    • Classify any work areas where explosive atmospheres may occur and avoid ignition sources in such areas.

Further information on the classification of work zones is provided in University Policy Statement S1/05, ‘’Storage of Flammable Liquids’’, along with limits on the quantities of flammable substances that may be held in workrooms.

As with COSHH the provision of information, instruction and training (section 11) is a key tenet of DSEAR.