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How To Use a DSEAR Risk Assessment Checklist

The risks associated with working with dangerous substances are incredibly high, that’s why your team should use a DSEAR assessment checklist to ensure that all risks are identified and appropriate safety procedures are in place. You can avoid explosions and fires caused by dangerous substances when you conduct a risk assessment.

What Is a DSEAR Risk Assessment Checklist?

Hazardous substances and explosive atmospheres are extremely dangerous for workers. One stray spark is all it takes to trigger an explosion that causes a fire. That’s why the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) of 2002 requires employers to take preventive measures and be equipped to protect their employees from risks associated with the corrosion of metal and possible explosions.

A DSEAR risk assessment will help identify dangerous substances present within the workplace, evaluate the degree of risks they pose and establish control measures to eliminate or minimize the risk to workers. Using a DSEAR risk assessment form, employers are required to go through every single step in the assessment and document all essential information to come up with definitive safety measures and actions to protect workers.

The purpose of a DSEAR risk assessment checklist is to help safety officers effectively identify, evaluate, and control hazards caused by dangerous substances on the site. While it may sound relatively straightforward, conducting such an assessment is easier said than done, as work sites can contain more hazardous substances and risks than you may think. That’s why it’s essential to use a checklist to ensure that you leave no stone unturned and you’re able to properly comply with DSEAR requirements.

This article covers the following topics:

1. When a DSEAR risk assessment is applicable

2. How to do a DSEAR risk assessment

3. Protect your business with a digital DSEAR form

Fire fighter puts out a chemical initiated fire

When Should I Conduct a DSEAR Risk Assessment?

A DSEAR risk assessment is required in a workplace where any of these hazardous substances are either present, produced, or used. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) classifies dangerous substances into the following:

  • Chemicals that can react violently when exposed with other materials.
  • Gasses that are typically stored in pressurized cylinders such as liquified petroleum gas. This is highly flammable and can explode when there’s a leak.
  • Dangerous liquids that produce vapors can ignite in the air. Solvent, petrol, and cleaning chemicals are examples.
  • Solids like packaging materials. When exposed to a fire, these can produce toxic black smoke that can be detrimental to people’s health when inhaled.
  • Dusts that can form into clouds and explode when ignited.Examples of these are metal powders in factories.

These places can be industrial or commercial spaces, land-based or offshore, construction sites, vessels, vehicles, buildings, and private and public roads. Domestic premises such as houses also fall within this category if people are working there.

How Do I Conduct a DSEAR Risk Assessment?

To comply with DSEAR, the HSE lists seven steps that employers must follow to ensure the safety of their workers from hazardous substances and explosive atmospheres. A DSEAR risk assessment checklist can serve as a guide to make sure you don’t miss anything and check the workplace thoroughly for hazards.

1. Conducting a Risk Assessment

It’s the responsibility of employers to conduct a risk assessment and identify the dangerous substances that pose a risk to employees before any work begins. This is done so that any identified risks can be minimized or, if possible, eliminated.

To do this, they must carefully examine:

  • Which dangerous substances are present, used, or being produced in the workplace
  • Which task or activity will entail exposure to dangerous substances
  • How those substances can harm the workers and the degree of risk

Any findings or observations must be recorded on the DSEAR risk assessment form accompanied by visual documentation as needed.

2. Implementing Risk Prevention Measures

Once you know the dangerous substances present in the worksite, the next step is to establish action plans to protect worker safety. The implemented safety measures should seek to eliminate these risks as much as possible. One way of doing this is through the process of substitution. Replace the hazardous substance with a safer one or implement a different method altogether.

If that’s not possible, employers should set safety measures to reduce the risk’s impact on employees. Here are the control measures required by the DSEAR according to priority:

  • Use dangerous substances in minimum quantities
  • Avoid or prevent any leakage of dangerous substances
  • Control the release of dangerous substances
  • Prevent dangerous and volatile atmosphere from forming
  • Implement proper collection, containment, and removal of releases to a safe and controlled place
  • Avoid ignition sources
  • Keep conditions ideal for proper handling and storage of dangerous substances. Avoid adverse conditions that can trigger explosions or volatile chemical reactions.
  • Separate incompatible substances

On top of these, the DSEAR also requires the implementation of mitigation measures. These include:

3. Setting up Appropriate Emergency Procedures

To be fully prepared, emergency arrangements must be preestablished to deal with worst-case scenarios. Such plans should include safety drills, warning systems, employee training, and communication according to the situation and risk level.

In the event of an emergency, workers who are designated to do repairs must be equipped with suitable protective equipment so they can safely do their job.

4. Ensuring Employee Training and Awareness

One of the most important forms of safety measures and prevention is employee instruction and training. This is why the DSEAR requires that employers provide their workforce with the necessary information they need to easily identify the dangerous substances within their zones and follow appropriate control measures.

This should include:

  • Giving employees access to safety data that indicates which dangerous substances are in the workplace, the risks they pose, and other things they should know when it comes to dealing with dangerous substances.
  • Communicating the findings of the DSEAR risk assessment and following through with implementing the appropriate safety measures. This should also include comprehensive but easy-to-understand instructions on how to follow safety guidelines.
  • Providing detailed information on emergency procedures.

On top of this, pipes and containers should be properly labeled so that employees can easily identify the presence of the dangerous substance. Maximum awareness of the risks involved in their task is a major requirement of the DSEAR.

You can check this comprehensive DSEAR risk assessment example released by the University of Glasgow to get a better idea of what a checklist looks like.

Employees follow a DSEAR risk assessment checklist to contain flammable substances

How Can a Digital DSEAR Risk Form Protect Your Business?

Because of the latent and sometimes undetectable nature of hazardous substances, such as gas, chemicals, and certain metals that can be released into the air and cause fires or explosions, it’s your responsibility to keep on top of your DSEAR risk assessments to keep your workers safe. The easiest and most efficient means of completing the government-mandated forms for any business dealing and handling explosive substances is the use of a thorough checklist.

With Lumiform’s super intuitive and easy-to-use app, you can fill out your explosive safety and risk forms digitally with any mobile device, either online or offline. Furthermore, you can immediately send the automatically generated reports to any colleague, third party, or stakeholder. This way, you don’t have to worry about the postal service losing your report in the mail or getting fined for noncompliance.

Want to know how else Lumiform can protect your business from explosions, penalties, injuries, and deaths? You’ll find the answers below.

  • With Lumiform, you can conduct inspections up to 30%-40% faster than with outdated paper and pen methods. This is because Lumiform does most of the work for you.
  • The Lumi flow allows users to create new checklists, assign tasks, and freely communicate with colleagues for a more optimized business interactions.
  • You can reduce the risk of explosions by being able to identify problems in real-time. That’s because as soon as an employee reports a problem, those responsible for performing remedial actions are immediately notified.
  • Lumiform’s analysis feature allows you to review where risk factors are most likely to be present, who conducted the inspection, and what measures were implemented to mitigate risk.

Try Lumiform for free

Trained professionals put out a fire caused by hazardous substances
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