SAFETYLINE 26

H & S UPDATE FEBRUARY 2003

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) came into force on 9 December 2002 and applies to all dangerous substances at nearly every business in GB. It sets minimum requirements for the protection of any person, whether at work or not (includes employees, students and the public), from fire and explosion risks arising from dangerous substances and potentially explosive atmospheres. Employers must:

  • Carry out a risk assessment of any work activities involving dangerous substances;
  • Provide technical and organisational measures to eliminate or reduce as far as is reasonably practicable the identified risks;
  • Provide equipment and procedures to deal with accident and emergencies;
  • Provide information and training to employees;
  • Classify and mark places where explosive atmospheres may occur into zones.

DSEAR applies to any substance or preparation (mixture of substances) with the potential to create a risk to persons from energetic (energy-releasing) events such as fires, explosions, thermal runaway from exothermic reactions etc. Such substances include: petrol, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), paints, solvents, varnishes and certain types of combustible and explosive dusts produced in, for example, machining and sanding operations.

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The electronic version of the Biological Agents Bulletin produced by HSE can be obtained on-line on http://www.hse.gov.uk/hthdir/noframes/bab5.pdf

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Safety Notices & Device Alerts received from the NHS: -

1.     Inappropriate use of breathing filters, HMEs and HMFEs in breathing circuits: risk of inadequate ventilation due to occlusion.

2.     The Cook Sof-flex Multi-length ureteric stent may degrade and become unfit for use before the indicated expiry date if it has not been stored in the dark.

3.     Arjo Trixie Patient Hoists – risk of instability and User Injury if the “T” shaped leg lock handles are not correctly locked or make contact with other equipment when in use. Modifications are required to be carried out by the manufacturer.

4.     Hill-Rom Variable Height Resuscitaire Radiant warmer  - at its minimum height connecting or disconnecting a gas cylinder longer than 800 mm may cause damage to the device or injury to the operator.

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The web addresses for the new Control of Lead at Work and CoSHH Regulations given in January’s “Safetyline” were inaccurate, the ending “html” should have read “htm”.

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A recent Court of Appeal case has confirmed that employers have an absolute duty to protect employees from substances hazardous to health as there is no reference in the CoSHH Regulations 1999 to the foreseeability of the risk. Thus in determining whether an employer is in breach of CoSHH it is irrelevant whether the CoSHH assessment (Reg. 6) would have revealed the risk!

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Thanks to all of you who returned the Health and Safety self-audit. I have replied by e-mail to most of the queries raised in the returns that required replies. Generally the standard of your responses is good and improving, and the audits we are carrying out will serve to improve them further. I will be reporting the full results to the Health and Safety Committee in February. If any of you feel I have not responded satisfactorily to your return please let me know and I will respond formally.

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Marigold industrial have launched a comprehensive online chemical resistance chart to help make protective glove selection for the job easier. The website can be found on www.marigoldindustrial.com/charts/index.html and a link has been placed on the Safety Services Guidance on “Selection and Use of Gloves”.

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Westfield Contributory Health Scheme presented a new defibrillator to the University on 16th January, which was accepted, on behalf of the University, by Professor Andrews. It is intended to locate the unit in the Security area of the Students Union as a central resource for the campus. 


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