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Hazardous Area Legislation Introduction

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR) is very much a cornerstone of the law governing installations in hazardous areas. Regulation 4(2) requires equipment to be maintained to prevent danger, and regular inspection is considered an essential part of that maintenance.

Regulation 6 of EAWR is concerned with hazardous environments, including any flammable or explosive substance, dusts, vapours and gases. The requirement is that the equipment shall be protected in such a way as to prevent, so far as is reasonably practicable, danger arising from its location in that environment.
Recent developments in UK legislation derive from a number of European Directives. Most prominent of these are the ATEX (standing for "ATmosphere EXplosible") Directives.

ATEX 94/9/EC, also known as the "ATEX 95" or the "Product" Directive, is concerned with the manufacture of equipment and protective systems designed for use in potentially explosive atmospheres. It is implemented in the UK by the Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 1996 (EPS).

ATEX 1999/92/EC is known as the "Worker Protection" Directive or "ATEX 137" Directive), and is concerned with the "minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres". It is implemented in the UK by the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR).

DSEAR also encompasses certain elements of the Chemical Agents Directive 98/24/EC, those that deal with flammable risks.

The EPS Regulations work in conjunction with DSEAR with regard to what equipment can be installed in a plant. As of 1st July 2006 the Regulations apply in full wherever work is being carried out by an employer (or self-employed person) and where a Dangerous Substance is present or is liable to be present at the workplace. There are exemptions but largely just about every business in Great Britain is subject to the Regulations.

In DSEAR terms a "dangerous substance" is any substance or preparation (i.e. mixture) with the potential to create a risk to persons from energy-releasing events such as fires, explosions, thermal runaway or exothermic reactions etc. It does not address the toxic or health risks of those substances. Those are dealt with by the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH), which have been amended to implement the health side of CAD. A good guide, but not exhaustive, to what constitutes a "dangerous substance" is the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2002 (CHIP).

It is not always straightforward determining whether a substance is dangerous or not. The compound may be new, the circumstances of its use in the workplace may be different - for example diesel oil stored at ambient temperature is not dangerous in DSEAR terms, it isn"t classified as "flammable" under CHIP, yet used in a process at high temperatures it becomes dangerous.

If you are processing a new compound mixture and are unsure of its classification Inglewood can provide laboratory testing to determine its properties in relation to DSEAR.

DSEAR is enforced in the main by the HSE at industrial premises, and by Local Authorities at retail premises. At petrol stations enforcement is by the Petroleum Licensing Authority.

We are able to complete all the various DSEAR compliance stages or support the client with specific areas where they need assistance.

Case Studies

HSE Improvement Notice

A new client operating in a remote part of the country came to us...

Petroleum Industry

With all the publicity concerning DSEAR our client was concerned...

Food Manufacturing

A national food manufacturing company had completed an area...

Useful Links

HSE - Guide to DSEAR
DSEAR Regulations
BSi - BS EN 60079 Standard
BSi - BS EN 61241 Standard
Compex - Training
Enterprise and Industry - ATEX
HazardEx Journal