What has Brexit got to do with DSEAR and ATEX? (More than you think)

What has Brexit got to do with DSEAR and ATEX?

(More than you think)


The UK has formally left the EU – but what does this mean for companies with hazardous, explosive areas and its health and safety standards?

Understanding the difference between Standards and Directives

Technical standards provide the best practice put together by technical experts to create a uniform engineering or technical criteria. They are not mandatory and will not be affected by Brexit.

European directives come from the European Parliament and must be embodied into the laws of each EU member. They are there to make it fair for trade within the EU and cover all angles of trade.

Technical standards and European directives are often entwined – standards are used to help meet European directive obligations.

What is ATEX?

ATEX is the name commonly given to the two European Directives for controlling explosive atmospheres:

  • Directive 99/92/EC (also known as ‘ATEX 137’ or the ‘ATEX Workplace Directive’) – this outlines the requirements for improving the health and safety protection of workers at risk from explosive atmospheres.
  • Directive 94/9/EC (also known as ‘ATEX 95’ or ‘the ATEX Equipment Directive’) – this concerns the equipment and protective systems used in potentially explosive atmospheres.

The legislation that covers the ATEX directives into the UK legal system is DSEAR (The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations).

What is DSEAR?

DSEAR places duties on employers (and the self-employed, who are considered employers for the purposes of the regulations) to eliminate or reduce risks from dangerous substances in the workplace.

Employers are responsible for identifying and controlling fire and explosion hazards posed by dangerous substances used in their facilities to ensure that employees, assets, and the environment are protected.

Explosive atmospheres can be caused by flammable gases, mists, or vapours or by combustible dusts. If there is enough of the substance, mixed with air, then all it needs is a source of ignition to cause an explosion. These kinds of substances are commonly found in solvent handling operations, gas cylinder storage, papers and food manufacturers, foundries and more.

Will the government alter DSEAR if it doesn’t need to comply with Europe?

DSEAR makes sure everything manufactured or imported to the UK still complies with the European Directive. ATEX is respected internationally – its requirement in the UK protects our markets from a flood of non-ATEX compliant equipment and should continue to enable the free movement of Hazardous Area Equipment from the UK to Europe, and vice versa. No difficulties are expected to arise as laws agreed while the UK was part of the EU are part of UK legislation anyway. However, some legislation may need updating in the future to include changes brought in by EU Directive 2014/34/EU to keep UK legislation aligned with the EU.

How can EEUK help keep you compliant with DSEAR and ATEX?

At EEUK, we keep up to date with legislation and stay on top of changes and alterations to regulations in the UK and beyond. We can help companies across the country to understand what DSEAR and ATEX means for them, and whether they need to change any processes due to Brexit.

We also have vast experience of conducting assessments in line with both the ATEX Workplace Directive and DSEAR, which include hazardous area classification, risk assessment, and pragmatic recommendations for compliance and reducing risks to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).

Our qualified consultants can carry out a DSEAR risk assessment to evaluate what dangerous substances you have in your workplace and how to control or remove the risks.

Whether you want advice on legislation or our help with DSEAR risk assessments, contact help@eeukltd.com to talk to one of our experts.

Find out more about our DSEAR services at https://eeukltd.com/dsear-risk-assessment/.