The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act), places a general duty on employers to ensure the safety of both employees and other people from the risks arising from work activity, so far as is reasonably practicable.
The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations, require employers to make an assessment of the health and safety risks arising from dangerous substances, and this specifically includes dusts which can explode. Where the employer has more than five employees, the significant findings of the risk assessment must be written down.
Gas, Vapour and Dust Explosion Hazards
Protection, mitigation and prediction. The safe use of intrinsically safe smartphone mobility within Ex hazardous areas
About Dangerous Substances
Gases, such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or methane, which are usually stored under pressure in cylinders and bulk containers. Uncontrolled releases can readily ignite or cause the cylinder to become a missile.
Dusts which can form explosive atmospheres are also classed as dangerous substances. Dusts can be produced from many everyday materials such as coal, wood, flour, grain, sugar, certain metals and synthetic organic chemicals. They are found in many industries such as food/animal feed, chemicals, woodworking, rubber and plastic processing and metal powders.
Solids include materials such as plastic foam, packaging, and textiles which can burn fiercely and give off dense black smoke, sometimes poisonous.
Other fire and explosion hazards:
Many chemical substances can give rise to harmful heat and pressure effects because they are unstable or because they can react violently with other materials. Chemicals need to be stored correctly and when reacted together sufficient information obtained to ensure that correct process controls can be used to prevent dangerous exothermic runaway reactions.
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Regulations Within Hazardous Areas
The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002, DSEAR and ATEX, require employers to assess the risk of fires and explosions arising from work activities involving dangerous substances, and to eliminate or reduce these risks.
HSE and local authorities are responsible for enforcing those workplaces covered by the legislation on working in potentially explosive atmospheres.