Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres (DSEAR) Policy

Oliver Preedy

Duty Authorised Person for DSEAR


The purpose of this document is to ensure that materials or processes that are covered by the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere regulations 2002 are effectively managed to a point where the associated risks are effectively controlled. This policy is to be used in conjunction with the chemical safety policy. DSEAR substances by their nature are hazardous and so the general requirements in section 4.0 of the chemical safety policy must be followed.

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. DSEAR puts duties on the employers to protect people from these risks including 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 solvents, paints, varnishes, flammable gases, dusts, 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
  • 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
  • make sure employees are properly informed about and trained to control or deal with the risks from the dangerous substances
  • identify and classify areas of the workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur and avoid ignition source in those areas


This policy provides a framework for Schools and fulfil their statutory duties and ensure the health and safety of staff and students working in areas where DSEAR may apply.

The policy applies to:

  • All staff, students and personnel (e.g. contractors and visitors) at workplaces under the control of Loughborough University.
  • Hazardous substances as outlined in the Dangerous Substances and Explosives Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) 2002.
  • Substances that due to their chemical properties or the way in which they are used or present in the workplace pose a risk of injury, fire or explosion.

Key Legislative Requirements

Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations 2002

The key areas covered in DSEAR are listed in the table below

5 To assess all potential risks to employees and others whose safety may be affected by the use of dangerous substances at the workplace This is met by the completion of the DSEAR risk assessment form
6 Eliminate or reduce risk to people safety from the presence of dangerous substances See above
7 Requirement of competent identification of hazardous and non-hazardous zones before new work starts The classification of zones must be completed by a competent person.
7(3) schedule 4 Warning signs to be installed where explosive atmospheres may occur Refer to DSEAR guidance document
8 Arrangements to deal with accidents, incidents and emergencies Suitable arrangements to deal with accidents and incidents should accompany the risk assessment and be in place before work begins
9 Information instruction and training Information must be provided which explains the findings of the risk assessment and informs employees of the precautions that they must take to prevent harm to themselves or others. Information must be up to date and delivered in a manner that is understandable to the target audience

Duty Holders

The responsibilities of duty holders are outlined below:

Deans of Schools/Heads of Professional Services

Deans of Schools/Heads of Professional Services shall:

  • Ensure that all areas where DSEAR may apply have been correctly identified
  • Ensure that risk assessments are in place for all DSEAR areas and activities
  • Ensure that any required risk reducing measures, emergency arrangements etc, are implemented
  • Ensure that adequate time and resources are available to implement the policy

N.B. Deans of Schools/Heads of Professional Services are also duty holders under the University Fire Policy

Fire Officer

The University Fire Officer shall:

  • Provide advice to schools or services at their request concerning fire risks arising from departmental processes and use of buildings.
  • Provide advice to schools or services at their request concerning suitable emergency arrangements.
  • Providing fire training as appropriate

N.B. The University Fire Officer is also a duty holder under the University Fire Policy

DSEAR Duty Appointed Person (DAP)

The DSEAR DAP shall:

  • Provide advice to schools or services at their request concerning areas or processes where DSEAR may apply
  • Provide advice to schools or services at their request concerning risk assessment

University Health and Safety Service

University Health and Safety Service shall:

  • Monitor compliance with this policy
  • Review the DSEAR policy
  • Provide information, advice and training
  • Liaise with regulators such as the Petroleum Licensing Officer, HSE Environment Agency and Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service

School/Department Safety Officers

School/Departmental safety officers shall:

SSO’s/DSO’s shall monitor the effectiveness of any control measures and make recommendations to the Dean of School/Head of Service as necessary.

  • Ensure that all areas or processes where DSEAR applies within the School/Service are effectively managed and compliant with this policy.
  • A DSEAR inventory is produced and maintained.
  • Audit DESAR assessment documentation to verify that suitable and sufficient assessments are in place and up to date.
  • Ensure that that members of staff and students are trained in their safe use of any equipment needed to control the risk from any DSEAR material
  • Verify that plant, equipment and engineering controls are maintained
  • Report accidents of near misses involving DSEAR substances to the UH&SS and the University Chemical Safety Officer.

Line Managers/Academic Supervisors

Staff who are responsible for managing the activities carried out by students, staff or volunteers are considered laboratory or academic supervisors. As such they have a duty to ensure the health and safety of the students/staff they supervise and have responsibility where their students/staff handle Hazardous chemicals.

Line managers are responsible for the health and safety of the staff/students they manage and others who may be affected by their work.

Line Managers/Academic Supervisors will ensure:

  • Personnel they manage/supervise are competent to work with substances covered by DSEAR and have been provided with sufficient information and training on the risk posed by the substances they use and the control measures in place.
  • Equipment is used correctly and maintained in an efficient state and good working order.
  • Risk assessments are reviewed and updated regularly, when significant changes occur or following an incident. • Information must be given to DSO/SSO.

Facilities Services

Facilities services shall:

  • Identify and compile a register of items of plant, equipment and engineering controls that have been installed following DSEAR assessment, whenever this apparatus forms part of the University estate.
  • Support Schools/Services by providing technical advice on plant, equipment or engineering controls that is/shall be provided following a COSHH risk assessment.
  • Keep records of inspection/testing for at least 5 years.

Employees and Students

Employees and students shall:

  • Attend training as requested by the SSO/DSO.
  • Co-operate with the University to implement any control measures identified in the DSEAR risk assessments
  • Report any defects or deficiencies in these measures (e.g. problems with PPE, or concerns regarding the effectiveness of LEV’s)

Risk Assessment

All areas where flammable liquids, gases and dusts, or any substance with any of the following hazard phrases H220, H222, H224, H225 and H250 are used a DSEAR risk assessment must be completed. The risk assessment form is available on the university health and safety service website.

Where it is shown that DSEAR applies the DAP should be informed as a further assessment may be needed to effectively control the risks.