Health & Safety Department


Guidance on the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR)

Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR)

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) came into force on 9th December 2002.

DSEAR applies to all dangerous substances at nearly every business, including HE, in the UK. It sets minimum requirements for the protection of workers from fire and explosion risks arising from dangerous substances and potentially explosive atmospheres.

DSEAR complements the general requirement to manage risks under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and addresses risk to persons safety from dangerous substances, as opposed to risks to health addressed by COSHH.

The impact of dangerous substances when exposed to fire can create a hostile and unpredictable environment. Where such substances are stored and used within the University particular attention should be given to the safe use and storage guidance supplied with the substance’s Safety Data Sheet (SDS). Students and employees should only work with potentially dangerous substances in an appropriately controlled and supervised environment with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) and Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) assessments completed where required. 

DSEAR requires that you:

  • Carry out a risk assessment of any work activities involving dangerous substances with fire and explosion risks;
  • Provide technical and organisational measures to eliminate or reduce as far as is reasonably practicable the identified risks;
  • Provide equipment and procedures to deal with accident and emergencies;
  • Provide information and training to employees;
  • Classify places where explosive atmospheres may occur into zones, and mark the zones where necessary.

Arrangements must make explicit good practices for reducing the risk to persons from fires, explosions and similar energetic (energy releasing) events that are in turn caused by dangerous substances such as flammable solvents.

Guidance on what constitutes a 'dangerous substance' and how to complete the risk assessment is available below.

Risk Assessments