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WORKPLACE SAFETY, WORKPLACE DEATHS AND EXPLOSION RISKS

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HSE PUBLISHES HEALTH AND SAFETY STATISTICS FOR 2001/02...
HSE PUBLISHES HEALTH AND SAFETY STATISTICS FOR 2001/02

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has today published the latest

statistics on workplace safety, work-related ill-health and

enforcement action in Great Britain. Health and Safety Statistics

Highlights 2001/02 presents the top level statistics, while more

detailed data and commentary are available on the HSE website; the

Highlights document itself is here.

(Other statistics

have been published earlier in the year: please see Notes).

Workplace fatality and injury

For workplace injuries, the new figures include 2001/02 data on

non-fatal injuries notified by employers and others under the

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations

(RIDDOR), supplemented by injury statistics for 2000/01 from the

Labour Force Survey (LFS). The LFS and RIDDOR sources jointly give

the picture on trends in rates of non-fatal injury. The LFS rates of

reportable injury are not subject to the underreporting which affects

the statistics and trends of injuries collected through RIDDOR.

HSE introduced the Incident Contact Centre (ICC) as a single point of

incident reporting for employers and others in April 2001, as part of

the government's e-programme. The ICC offers easier reporting and

options - for example, over 25% of reports come via telephone. As

with any new system, HSE and the ICC have conducted more quality

assurance in the first year, which has led to a delay in publishing

the statistics of reported non-fatal injuries.

The quality assurance is designed to ensure correct recording, for

example of 'major injuries' as defined in RIDDOR, both when the

injuries are reported and in follow-up validation. This year the

validation could not check a small number of notified major injury

cases where there was insufficient information. As a result we

believe there is a small overstatement in the number of reported

major injuries in 2001/02.

The main features of the injuries statistics are:

- The number of worker fatalities decreased by 15% to 249 in 2001/02

from 292 in 2000/01. The rate of fatal injury dropped to 0.88 from

1.03 (per hundred thousand workers). The figure had risen by 30% in

2000/01, after the general downward trend in the 1990s. The rate of

fatal injury is still higher than expected had that downward trend

continued.

- The rate of reported major injury to employees dropped by 0.6% to

109.5 in 2001/02 from 110.2 in 2000/01. The rate of over 3 day injury

to employees dropped by 6% to 506.3 in 2001/02 from 536.9 in 2000/01.

These changes mainly reflect changes in the level of reporting.

- The LFS rates of reportable injury are given as a three year

averages to smooth sampling fluctuations. The averaged LFS rate of

reportable injury in 2000/01 was 1530 (per hundred thousand workers).

However, the rate of reported employee non-fatal (major plus over 3

day) injury was 647 in 2000/01, suggesting that employers report

about 42% of reportable injuries to their employees.

- The rate of reported non-fatal injury to self-employed people was

41 in 2000/01, and indicates that self employed people report less

than 3% of reportable injuries.

- Between 1994/95 and 1998/99, the averaged LFS rate of reportable

injury dropped by 14% but has risen since then by 3%. The averaged

LFS rate for 2001/02 is expected not to be very different.

- The rate of employee reported non-fatal injury dropped by 7%

between 1994/95 and 1998/99 but - unlike the LFS rate - has continued

to drop, being 11% lower by 2001/02. This recent reduction coupled

with the small rise in the averaged LFS rates suggest that reporting

levels have declined in the past three years. Within this there is

early evidence that the Incident Contact Centre has resulted in:

- improved reporting in areas where underreporting has been most

severe (self- employed people, agriculture and some service

industries); and

- a relative improvement in the reporting of major injuries

compared with over 3 day injuries (because the rate of major injury

is steady in 2001/02 while that of over 3 day injury dropped).

- In 2000/01, the LFS rate of reportable injury was 1510 in Scotland

and 1600 in Wales, compared with 1530 for Great Britain. Research by

the Institute of Employment Research showed that the variation

between regions in terms of rates of injury was mainly determined by

job characteristics in the regions such as industries and

occupations; there was no evidence for a specifically 'regional

effect' acting on the risk of non-fatal injury.

Work-related ill health

The new statistics on work-related ill health include headline

results from the 2001/02 Self-reported Work-related Illness (SWI)

household survey, together with ill health data from other sources

including specialist doctors in the Occupational Disease Intelligence

Network (ODIN) and assessed benefit cases under the Industrial

Injuries Scheme (IIS). The main points are:

- The SWI01/02 survey estimates that 2.3 million individuals in

Great Britain were suffering from an illness in the last 12 months

which they believed was caused or made worse by their current or past

work. This prevalence estimate includes long standing as well as new

cases.

- Broad comparisons (based on a restricted coverage) between the

latest figures and those from HSE's previous three SWI surveys

suggest that the rate of self-reported work-related illness

prevalence in 2001/02 was somewhat higher than in 1998/99, but still

below the levels in 1990 and 1995.

- SWI01/02 estimates that 33 million working days were lost in the

previous 12 months through illness caused or made worse by work. This

is higher than previously estimated (18 million, from the SWI95

survey) but some of this is due to technical differences. It also

appears to reflect an increase in absence durations: the average time

off work among all those suffering was 23 days in 2001/02 compared

with 14 days in 1995.

- For trends in the incidence (new cases) of work-related ill

health, it is more helpful to look at data from other sources such as

ODIN and IIS. These cover musculoskeletal disorders and stress (see

below under Priority Programmes) and the other main causes and kinds

of work-related ill health. For example:

- The number of deaths and new IIS disablement benefit cases due

to asbestos-related diseases has continued to rise: mesothelioma

deaths stand at over 1,600 per year and asbestosis benefit cases at

around 460. This reflects the effects of historic exposure levels;

mesothelioma deaths at ages below 55 are falling.

- The number of new IIS disablement benefit cases of occupational

deafness has fallen over time (although the number rose slightly to

263 in 2001), as have the exposure levels of lead workers under

medical surveillance (1.1% of male workers had blood-lead measured

at or above the suspension levels in 2000/01, the lowest ever

recorded).

- The estimated numbers of new cases of occupational asthma and of

contact dermatitis based on reports to ODIN specialist doctors have

remained broadly constant in recent years, at nearly 1000 cases and

3000-3500 cases per year respectively.

Revitalising Health and Safety targets

The statistics on health and safety at work inform the measurement of

progress against the targets for reducing work-related ill health,

injuries and working days lost set in the Revitalising Health and

Safety strategy. HSE's approach to progress measurement is detailed

in a Statistical Note published in June 2001, which is on the HSE

website at www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/statnote.pdfAmong other things, this states that progress will be

assessed from trends estimated in statistical models, and that - for

ill health - existing data sources will need to be refined and new

ones developed, with a judgement on progress being made by integrating

data from several of them. At this early stage in the strategy period

it is not possible to make a full assessment of progress, but the

following can be said with respect to the three targets: these

statements, together with the material in Health and Safety Statistics

Highlights 2001/02, comprise the 'annual progress report' promised in

the Statistical Note.

Fatal and major injuries

- The target is to reduce the indicator by 10% in the 10 years to

2009/10, and by 5% by 2004/05. The indicator includes an uprating

factor for underreporting of major injuries.

- In the past 5 years, between 1996/97 and 2001/02, the indicator

dropped 6% but most of this had occurred by 1999/2000, the base year

of the Revitalising programme.

- Since 1999/2000 the indicator has fluctuated by small amounts that

are not statistically significant. There is no discernible

improvement since the base year.

- The indicator increased by 2.8% in 2001/02, reflecting an increase

in the uprating factor for underreporting. This does not allow for

the overstatement of major injuries in the validation process or the

relative improvement in the reporting of major injuries following the

introduction of the Incident Contact Centre (ICC). Initial estimates

of these effects suggest that under the old system the indicator

would have shown a small net drop in 2001/02. A fuller assessment of

the effect of the ICC on reporting levels will be made next year when

the averaged Labour Force Survey rates for 2001/02 are available.

Work-related ill health

- The target is to reduce the incidence rate (new cases) by 20% in

the 10 years to 2009/10, and by 10% by 2004/05.

- The latest information from self-reporting (SWI) surveys suggest

that the scale of the problem to be addressed by the strategies is

now greater than previously estimated.

- Information from other sources, including surveillance by

specialist doctors (ODIN), is consistent with the view that for

several important kinds of work-related ill health there has been no

significant decline in the numbers of cases reported in recent years

and that for some - notably stress and related disorders - the

numbers have increased.

Working days lost due to injuries and ill health

- The target is to reduce the rate per 100 000 workers by 30% in

the 10 years to 2009/10, and by 15% by 2004/05.

- Again, the latest information from self-reporting surveys suggest

that the scale of the problem is now greater than previously

estimated: a total of around 40 million days lost per year in 2000-02

compared with an earlier estimate, based on surveys conducted in

1995-98, of 24 million. Most of the difference relates to

work-related ill health, but some of it is due to technical

differences.

Priority Programmes

The statistics also provide information on the eight Priority

Programmes identified by the Health and Safety Commission. For

example:

In agriculture in 2001/02 there were 39 worker fatalities. The rate

of worker fatal injury dropped by 9% in 2001/02 but has fluctuated in

the 1990s with no improvement. There was a significant upward trend

in the LFS rate of reportable injury, increasing by 37% between

1996/97 and 2000/01. In summary for agriculture, there is no progress

in rates of fatality and worsening rates of non-fatal injury.

In construction in 2001/02, there were 79 worker fatalities. The rate

of worker fatal injury dropped 28% in 2001/02. The rate of fatal

injury generally dropped until 1998/99 but rose substantially in the

next two years to 2000/01. The LFS rate of reportable injury has

fluctuated with small changes between 1996/97 and 2001/02, suggesting

no real change to the rate of non-fatal injury in construction. The

rate of major injury has decreased since 1999/2000 but this may

reflect a declining level of reporting. In summary for construction,

the latest fatality figure is an improvement but there is little

recent progress in the rate of non-fatal injury.

In health services there were 3 fatal injuries in the past five

years. The averaged LFS rate of reportable injury decreased by 33% in

the four years to 2000/01, and the rate of reported injury decreased

by 19%. There is a general downward trend in the rate of non-fatal

injury in health services, coupled with improved reporting levels.

Slip/trip injuries represent the commonest kind for employee major

injuries at 37% in 2001/02, rising from 33% in 2000/01. The number

rose from 9,054 to 10,118. Both number and percentage share have

increased gradually in the past five years. The increase in 2001/02

is partly due to new guidelines that clarify the distinction between

a slip/trip on the level and a fall from a height, in particular for

incidents on floors/kerbs/steps/stairs. Regular sample checks show

that most slip/trip incidents are correctly coded as such. Slip/trip

injuries have increased in percentage share of employee over 3 day

injuries since 1996/97 and accounted for 23% in 2001/02.

Falls from a height represent the second commonest kind for major

injuries (15%). The percentage share remained steady at 19% until

2000/01 and then dropped to 15%, in part due to the new guidelines

clarifying the recording of the kind of accident. Such clarification

is expected to contribute to a reduction in low falls but not

necessarily to high falls. Low falls increased in percentage share

between 1998/99 and 2000/01 (11.1 to 11.6%). The figure dropped to

7.8% in 2001/02, partly reflecting the new guidelines for recording

falls and slips. High falls (over 2 metres) decreased in number and

percentage share of major injuries between 1998/99 (5.8%) and 2000/01

(5.3%), and decreased further in 2001/02 (3.8%). It is expected that

some of this reduction is real and not due to the new guidelines,

given that these emphasise the recording of the hazard (i.e. working

at a height).

In 20001/02, being struck by a vehicle accounted for 959 (or 2.6%) of

employee major injuries. The number and percentage have dropped since

1999/2000.

For work-related musculoskeletal disorders, the estimated prevalence

- based on broadly comparable figures from SWI surveys - was higher

in 2001/02 than in 1998/99 but lower than a decade ago. The incidence

(new cases) estimated from SWI01/02 was 240 000 in the previous 12

months. Because of technical differences, it is not possible to

compare this with SWI data for earlier years to make a judgement

about trends; however, the estimated number of first visits to ODIN

specialist doctors appears to have remained fairly stable in recent

years at around 8,000 a year.

For work-related stress and related disorders, the estimated

prevalence has increased over time and is now around double the level

it was in 1990, based on broadly comparable SWI figures. The

incidence (new cases) of stress, depression and anxiety was estimated

from SWI01/02 as 265,000 in the previous 12 months. This cannot be

directly compared with estimates from earlier SWI surveys, but the

estimated number of new cases reported by ODIN specialist doctors has

been rising and was almost 7,000 in 2001.

Enforcement

For enforcement activities, key figures are:

- In 2001/02 HSE issued 11 009 enforcement notices, nearly the same

number as in 2000/01 (11 056). The number of enforcement notices

issued by HSE dropped in the early 1990s from 11,914 in 1992/93 to

7,444 in 1996/97 but has risen since then.

- The number of enforcement notices issued by local authorities

dropped substantially from nearly 27,000 in 1992/93 to 5,170 in

1996/97 but has fluctuated since then. There were 5,810 in 2000/01.

- In 2001/02, there were 2035 informations laid by HSE, 3% higher

than in 2000/01 (1973). The number of informations laid dropped from

2,157 in 1992/93 to 1,490 in 1996/97 but has risen in most years

since then. The average fine increased to£8,284 in 2001/02 from

£6,226 in 2000/01 (partly reflecting a few relatively high fines).

The average fine has increased throughout the 1990s.

Notes

1. Since 1992/93, statistics relating to health and safety at work

have been published in an annual volume Health and Safety Statistics

and the Health and Safety Commission's Annual Report. This year for

the first time the top level statistics are being released in a slim

document and the details made available simultaneously on the HSE

website.

2. Several sets of statistics have already been released this year.

Statistics of fatalities for 2001/02 were published in July 2002 in

the Fatal Injury Bulletin, which is re-published today on the website

at www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overpic.htm and now includes

figures on fatalities to members of the public. The latest top level

statistics on the health and safety work of local authorities are

being made available today on the website at www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/industry/labltn02.pdf; statistics

of fatalities for 2001/02, along with injury and enforcement

statistics for 2000/01, were released in the HELA National Picture

2002 (www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/pdf/natpic02.pdf). Full

details of HSE's enforcement action were released in November 2002 in

the Offences and Penalties Report, which is available on the website

at www.hse.gov.uk/enforce/off01-02.pdf

3. As well as giving data for Great Britain, the statistics released

today include statistics for Wales, Scotland and the regions of

England. Statistics Briefings for each of these are available on the

website at www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/regions/index.htm The

statistics also include an updated factsheet about deaths from the

asbestos-related disease mesothelioma in the period 1986-2000 for

counties, their constituent local authorities, and unitary

authorities within Great Britain. This supersedes a previous

factsheet for the period 1986-95; it is on the HSE website at

www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/cd8600.pdf

4. The Revitalising Health and Safety strategy statement, launched by

the deputy prime minister and the chair of the Health and Safety

Commission in June 2000, set national targets to reduce the rate of

fatalities and major injuries, the incidence rate of work-related ill

health and the rate of working days lost from work-related injury and

ill health. The targets relating to ill health also featured in

Securing Health Together: A long-term occupational health strategy

for Great Britain, launched by the Health and Safety Commission and

Executive, in association with other government departments, in July

2000.

5. New arrangements for National Statistics were also launched by

the government in July 2000, to enhance the integrity and quality of

official statistics. The National Statistics 'badge' - which is on

Health and Safety Statistics Highlights 2001/02 - means that the

statistics concerned must be produced to high professional standards,

subject to regular quality assurance reviews, and published free from

political interference. To achieve this, the National Statistics

arrangements include an independent Statistics Commission, a Code of

Practice (released in October 2002), and mechanisms for consultation

with stakeholders.

Public Enquiries: Call HSE's InfoLine, tel: 08701 545500, or write

to: HSE Information Services, Caerphilly Business Park, Caerphilly

CF83 3GG.

HSE information and press releases can be accessed on the Internet:

http://www.hse.gov.uk

NEW FIGURES SHOW WORKPLACE DEATHS DOWN

New figures published today by the Health and Safety Commission (HSC)

show that 249 people were killed in work-related accidents around

Britain in 2001/02 (43 fewer than 2000/01), there were 27,477 major

injuries (47 fewer than 2001/02) and an estimated 40.2 million days

off work due to illness and injury.

The report's highlights are available at

www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/overpic.htm while the full report is at www.hse.gov.uk/statistics

The three most common causes of work-related deaths were: falls from

heights (44 people); being struck by a moving or flying object (43

people); and being struck by a moving vehicle (40 people).

Slips and trips were the biggest cause of non-fatal workplace

injuries, accounting for over a third (37 per cent) of the total. The

three riskiest industries for major injuries were: mining (803 cases

per 100,000 workers); the water industry (652 cases per 100,000); and

railways (631 cases per 100,000).

In total, an estimated 40.2 million working days were lost due to

work-related illness and injury - 32.9 million due to illness and 7.3

million due to injury. Of days lost due to illness, 13.4 million were

attributed to stress, anxiety or depression and 12.3 million to

musculoskeletal disorders, or MSDs (disorders affecting muscles and

joints). An estimated total of 1,126,000 people suffered from MSDs,

while a further 563,000 were affected by stress. Over the 12 months,

there were an estimated 265,000 new cases of stress.

The riskiest industries in terms of self-reported illness were:

agriculture and forestry (6,500 cases per 100,000 people working in

the sector either currently or in the last eight years), public

administration and defence (5,700 cases per 100,000) and construction

(5,600 cases per 100,000).

In 2000 the government and HSC set three 10-year national improvement

targets to reduce: days taken off work due to injury and illness;

work-related ill-health; and work-related fatal and major injuries.

Commenting on the figures, HSC chair Bill Callaghan said: 'My first

reaction is that these figures show little change - and I take no

comfort from that. We have much to do to achieve a step change in

health and safety improvement. This is only the second year in a

ten-year programme, but I expect to see some momentum in following

years.

'Occupational health is a key area for improvement and presents

perhaps our toughest challenge. Stress and MSDs account for two

thirds of all days taken off work due to self-reported illness - and

these are the areas we have already targeted as priorities. Stress

seems to be endemic in modern society, both inside and outside the

workplace - and the rate of increase in recent years has been

considerable. Many people talk about 'stress-management'. The key to

reversing the upward trend is to avoid stress in the first place.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has already provided guidance

to employers and we have a number of initiatives in place to get to

grips with the problem.

Mr Callaghan continued: 'We have now established baselines for

measuring progress to reduce the incidence of ill-health and days

lost to sickness and injury. The figures - over 40 million days lost

- bring home what a waste health and safety failures represent to

Britain's businesses, as well as the pain caused to the victims. We

will continue to work with employers, workers and others to drive

down this unacceptable toll. This means we need to make progress in

both the public and private sectors. When we launched our national

improvement targets, we said the public sector should act as an

exemplar. The figures for occupational health show there is still

some way to go.'

On work-related deaths and injuries, Mr Callaghan concluded: 'I am

encouraged to see the reduction in work-related fatalities, but it is

too soon to tell whether this is the resumption of a downward trend.

Every death is one too many. I am also concerned by the rate of major

injuries, and by the fact that there has been no significant movement

here for a number of years. The key to progress is partnership

between all those with an interest in improving health and safety at

work.'

Note

On 7 June 2000, HSC chair Bill Callaghan and deputy prime minister

John Prescott launched the Revitalising Health and Safety initiative.

This aims to achieve, by the year 2010, the following national

improvement targets: reduce the incidence of working days lost from

ill-health by 30 per cent; reduce the incidence of people suffering

from work-related ill-health by 20 per cent; and reduce the rate of

fatal and major injury accidents by 10 per cent. There is an

additional target to achieve half of each improvement by the year

2004. To help deliver the targets, HSC identified eight priority

areas - major hazards and worst-performing sectors of industry -

where improvement is most needed. These are: musculoskeletal

disorders; stress; construction; agriculture; the health service;

falls from heights; slips and trips; and work-related transport.

Annex

KEY STATS FOR DEATH, INJURY AND ILLNESS AT WORK

The report for 2001/02, identified the following:

FATAL INJURIES

- Fatalities among workers went down by 15 per cent from 292 to

249, with the rate down from 1 to 0.9 per 100,000.

- The three main causes of fatalities were falls from heights (44),

being struck by a moving or flying object (43), and being struck by a

moving vehicle (40).

- The south-east had the highest number of worker fatalities (31),

followed by Scotland (27). The lowest number of fatalities was in the

east and north-east (15 each).

- Fatalities in the construction industry fell by 25 per cent from

105 to 79, but the industry still accounts for nearly a third (32 per

cent) of all worker fatalities.

- Fatalities among members of the public were down 14 per cent from

444 to 384, almost three quarters of which were due to suicide or

trespass on railways.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH FATALITIES

- Around 6,000 people die of work-related cancers every year in

Great Britain due to past exposure to carcinogens at work (e.g.

asbestos).

- The number of people dying from mesothelioma (an asbestos-related

cancer) in 2000 was 1,628 - of which nearly 90 per cent were male.

The death toll is expected to peak around 2011, with 1,700 men dying

that year.

DAYS OFF WORK

- In total, an estimated 40.2 million working days were lost due to

work-related injuries and ill-health.

- Of these, 32.9 million working days were lost through work-related

illness, with stress, depression or anxiety accounting for 13.4

million days and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs - muscles and

joints) a further 12.3 million days.

- An estimated 7.3 million working days were lost to work-related

accidents.

- On average, each person suffering work-related illness took 22.9

days off work.

OCCUPATIONAL ILL-HEALTH

- 2.3 million people in Britain suffered from an illness caused or

made worse by their current or previous work.

- MSDs (disorders affecting muscles and joints) were the most common

occupational health problem, with 1,126,000 sufferers, followed by

stress, depression or anxiety (563,000), then breathing problems

(168,000), and then hearing problems (87,000).

- The three riskiest industries in terms of self-reported ill-health

were agriculture (6,500 cases per 100,000 people working in the

sector either currently or in the last eight years), public

administration and defence (5,700) and construction (5,600).

- The number of people suffering from work-related stress has

roughly doubled over the last decade, with 265,000 new cases in the

last 12 months.

- Nearly 200,000 people whose current job (or most recent job in the

last eight years) was in health or social work said they suffered an

illness caused by their job, with a rate of 5,200 cases per 100,000

workers.

MAJOR INJURIES

- Major injuries to employees went down slightly from 27 524 to 27

477, with the rate down from 110.2 to 109.5 per 100,000.

- The three riskiest industries in terms of major injuries to

workers were: mining (803.9 per 100,000 workers), followed by the

water industry (652.1) and then railways (631.1).

- The biggest cause of major injuries to workers was slips and

trips, which accounted for over a third (37 per cent) of the total.

OTHER INJURIES

- Over three day injuries to employees went down by 5 per cent, from

134,105 to 127,084, with the rate falling 6 per cent from 506.3 per

100,000.

- Non-fatal injuries to members of the public went down 31 per cent,

from 20,836 to 14,362. Of these, 96 per cent occurred in the services

sector.

* All occupational ill-health and 'days lost' figures are estimates

based on a household survey in 2001/02 which asked people: whether

they had suffered from an illness in the last twelve months caused or

made worse by their work; how long ago they first became aware of it,

and what time they took off work as a result.

**The fatal, major and over three day injury figures are based on

incidents reported to HSE under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases

and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR). These figure are

then revised upwards to take account of under-reporting of injuries

by employers and other duty holders, using the annual Labour Force

Survey as a benchmark. At present HSE estimates that only 43 per cent

of employee injuries and three per cent of injuries to the

self-employed are reported.

NEW REGULATIONS TO PROTECT WORKERS FROM FIRE AND EXPLOSION

New regulations to control fire and explosion risks from dangerous

substances and potentially explosive atmospheres came into force

today, 9 December 2002.

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002

(DSEAR) will implement the requirements of two European Union

Directives: the safety requirements of the Chemical Agents Directive

(CAD); and the requirements of the Explosive Atmospheres Directive

(ATEX 137).

DSEAR will apply to all dangerous substances at nearly every business

in the UK. It sets minimum requirements for the protection of workers

from fire and explosion risks related to dangerous substances and

potentially explosive atmospheres.

A free leaflet, Fire And Explosion - How Safe is Your Workplace: A

short guide to the Dangersous Substances and Explosive Atmosphers

Regulations, to assist small and medium-sized businesses has been

published today. A web page for DSEAR, containing guidance on the new

regulations, can be found at: www.hse.gov.uk/spd/content/dsear.htm

DSEAR will also be supported by interpretative guidance and Approved

Code of Practice (ACoP) material, to be published next year.

Notes:

1. DSEAR will apply at any workplace where there is present any

substance or mixture of substances with the potential to create a

risk from energetic (energy-releasing) events such as fire,

explosions, thermal runaway from exothermic reactions etc. Such

substances, known in DSEAR as dangerous substances, include: petrol,

liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), paints, varnishes, solvents and

certain types of dust that are explosive (e.g. wood dust).

2. The main requirements of DSEAR are that employers and the

self-employed must: carry out an assessment of the fire and explosion

risks of any work activities involving dangerous substances; provide

measures to eliminate, or reduce as far as is reasonably practicable,

the identified fire and explosion risks; apply measures, so far as is

reasonably practicable, to control risks and to mitigate the

detrimental effects of a fire or explosion; provide equipment and

procedures to deal with accidents and emergencies; provide employees

with information and precautionary training.

3. Additionally, from 30 June 2003, where explosive atmospheres may

occur: the workplaces should be classified into hazardous and

non-hazardous places; and any hazardous places classified into zones

on the basis of the frequency and duration of an explosive

atmosphere, and where necessary marked with a sign; equipment in

classified zones should be safe and satisfy the requirements of the

Equipment and Protective Systems Intended for Use in Potentially

Explosive Atmospheres 1996; and, the workplaces should be verified as

meeting the requirements of DSEAR, by a competent person.

4. DSEAR implements the safety requirements of the Chemical Agents

Directive (CAD), and the requirements of the Explosive Atmospheres

Directive (ATEX). The health requirements of CAD are being

implemented through amendments to current health legislation: the

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH); the

Control of Lead at Work Regulations (CLAW); and the Control of

Asbestos at Work Regulations (CAW).

5. DSEAR will provide a modern framework for managing the risks of

fire and explosions and will enable around 20 pieces of old

legislation to be repealed or modernised. This will provide benefits

for employers who will in future have significantly less legislation

to consider. DSEAR does not contain requirements that are

fundamentally new; employers currently meeting existing legislation

should therefore notice no significant change. Safety standards will

be maintained through a combination of DSEAR and activity specific

ACoP material.

Copies of Fire And Explosion - How Safe is Your Workplace: A short

guide to the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres

Regulations, aimed at small and medium-sized businesses are

available. Priced packs will be available from HSE Books; PO Box

1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2WA, tel: 01787-881165 or fax:

01787-313995. Priced publications are also available from good

booksellers. The leaflet will also be available to download free

from HSE's website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/index.htm

The Statutory Instruments: 'The Dangerous Substances and Explosive

Atmospheres Regulations 2002' (S.I. 2002/2776) will be available

from: http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2002/20022776.htm

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