The intention of the Regulations is to reduce the risk of a fatality or serious injury resulting from a "dangerous substance" igniting and potentially exploding. Examples of a "dangerous substance", as defined by DSEAR, include sawdust, ethanol vapours, and hydrogen gas. The regulation is enforceable by the HSE or local authorities.
DSEAR requires employers to assess the risks of fires and explosions that may be caused by dangerous substances in the workplace. From June 2015 DSEAR also covers the risk caused by gases under pressure and substances that are corrosive to metals
Exemption certificates13.—(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the Health and Safety Executive may, by a certificate in writing, exempt any person or class of persons or any dangerous substance or class of dangerous substances from all or any of the requirements or prohibitions imposed by or under these Regulations and any such exemption may be granted subject to conditions and to a limit of time and may be revoked at any time by a certificate in writing.(2) The Health and Safety Executive shall not grant any such exemption unless, having regard to the circumstances of the case, and in particular to—(a)the conditions, if any, which it proposes to attach to the exemption; and(b)any requirements imposed by or under any enactments which apply to the case, it is satisfied that the health and safety of persons who are likely to be affected by the exemption will not be prejudiced in consequence of it and that the exemption will be compatible with the requirements of the Directives.(3) For the purposes of paragraph (2), “the Directives” means Council Directive 98/24/EC on the protection of the health and safety of workers from the risks related to chemical agents at work(1) and Council Directive 99/92/EC on minimum requirements for improving the safety and health protection of workers potentially at risk from explosive atmospheres(2).
Exemptions for Ministry of Defence etc.14.—(1) In this regulation—(a)“Her Majesty’s Forces” means any of the naval, military or air forces of the Crown, whether raised inside or outside the United Kingdom and whether any such force is a regular, auxiliary or reserve force, and includes any civilian employed by those forces;(b)“visiting force” has the same meaning as it does for the purposes of any provision of Part 1 of the Visiting Forces Act 1952(1); and(c)“headquarters” means a headquarters for the time being specified in Schedule 2 to the Visiting Forces and International Headquarters (Application of Law) Order 1999(2).(2)
The Secretary of State for Defence may, in the interests of national security, by a certificate in writing, exempt—(a)any of Her Majesty’s Forces,(b)any visiting force,(c)any member of a visiting force working in or attached to a headquarters, or(d)any person engaged in work involving dangerous substances, if that person is under the direct supervision of a representative of the Secretary of State for Defence, from all or any of the requirements or prohibitions imposed by these Regulations and any such exemption may be granted subject to conditions and to a limit of time and may be revoked at any time by a certificate in writing, except that, where any such exemption is granted, suitable arrangements shall be made for the assessment of the risk to safety created by the work involving dangerous substances and for adequately controlling the risk to persons to whom the exemption relates.
DSEAR put into effect requirements from two European Directives: the Chemical Agents Directive (98/24/EC) and the Explosive Atmospheres Directive (99/92/EC). It also replaced a number of older regulations dealing with flammable substances safety: Chemical Agents Directive and Explosive Atmospheres Directive.
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