Background to the case study
As a business, you first need to know what substances in your workplace can present fire and explosion risk.
Because of the nature of hazardous substances, it is important to consider what would happen if something were to go wrong and have emergency planning in place. It might also be necessary (prudent) to share your plans with the local Fire Service.
In addition, these plans need to be shared with your employees. Employees must be trained to deal with the risks from dangerous substances.
This planning and awareness reduces potential risks and maintains the safety of the business.
A requirement of DSEAR is to identify and classify areas of the workplace where explosive atmospheres may occur. These are then classified into hazardous zones based on the risk of an explosion occurring, and protected from sources of ignition by selecting suitable equipment and protective systems.
The client is a large structural steel fabricator supplying components to the construction industry. As part of the process, a protective coating is applied to the larger components that are flammable before it is cured.
Following a relatively small explosion during the cleaning of the coating application system and the resulting HSE investigation, an Improvement Notice was issued requiring the completion of risk assessments and Hazardous Area Classifications (HACs) be undertaken in compliance with the requirements set out in the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations 2002.