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DSEAR stands for the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002.  DSEAR puts duties on employers and the self-employed to protect people from risks to their safety from fires, explosions and similar events in the workplace, this includes members of the public who may be put at risk by work activity

Employers must:

  • find out what dangerous substances are in their workplace and what the fire and explosion 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 sources (from unprotected equipment, for example) in those areas.

Source: www.hse.gov.uk

Employers must classify areas where hazardous explosive atmospheres may occur into zones. The classification given to a particular zone, and its size and location, depends on the likelihood of an explosive atmosphere occurring and its persistence if it does. Schedule 2 of DSEAR contains descriptions of the various classifications of zones for gases and vapours and for dusts.

Further information and guidance on the classification and zoning of areas where potentially explosive atmospheres may occur and the selection of equipment for use in those areas:

Source: www.hse.gov.uk

ATEX is the name commonly given to the two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres:

1) Directive 99/92/EC (also known as ‘ATEX 137’ or the ‘ATEX Workplace Directive’) on minimum requirements for improving the health and safety protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres.

This directive is predominantly associated with evaluating the risk of an explosive atmosphere and determining the need for protective measures such as those defined in the ATEX 95 Equipment Directive below.  The ATEX 137 Directive places a clear duty on the Employer/Specifier.

Note: Clearly this must entail ensuring that staff are suitably competent to make these assessments.  Training is readily available in ATEX competency, Design and DSEAR Area Classification.  We strongly urge all our clients to make this training available to appropriate Project Managers/Specifiers.

2) Directive 94/9/EC (also known as ‘ATEX 95’ or ‘the ATEX Equipment Directive’) on the approximation of the laws of Members States concerning equipment and protective systems intended for use in potentially explosive atmospheres.

ATEX 95 refers to the certification of plant and components for use in potentially explosive or explosive atmospheres.  Anything falling into Zone 0 (for gases) ie ATEX Category 1, requires certification by an approved notified body (such as SIRA, BASEEFA, Intertek etc).  Likewise any electrical item for zone 1 (ATEX Category 2).  Otherwise such plant and components can be self certified.

Note: Clearly, it is essential that any self certification be undertaken by Competent individuals with an understanding of the ATEX regulations as well as being appropriately competent with regard to mechanical and electrical engineering.

Cornelsen’s process, mechanical & electrical engineering staff both in the UK and in Germany have undertaken ATEX Competency and ATEX Design training in addition to selected individual training in DSEAR Area Classification.

This is a very common misunderstanding.  No.  If the LEL system is to be installed “just in case” an explosive atmosphere might occur, this is the definition of a zone 2 atmosphere.  This requires ATEX Cat.3 certified components/plant.