Firms need to fall in line with new dangerous substances regulations, says Norwich Union

Article date: 22 January 2003

Many organisations are failing to meet the requirements of thelatest regulations governing dangerous substances and explosiveatmospheres, according to Norwich Union.

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations2002 (DSEAR) – which came into force on 9 December 2002 -will apply to all dangerous substances at nearly every business inthe UK, setting minimum requirements for the protection of workersfrom fire and explosion risks.

“Few workplaces comply with all the requirements of theDSEAR and many others have a lot to do to get up to scratch”says David Graves, health and safety consultant with Norwich UnionRisk Services.

“There has never been a single set of regulations coveringdangerous substances and explosive atmospheres in businesses acrossthe UK and the precautions currently being taken by mostorganisations are simply below par,” Mr Graves says.“This is reflected in the continuing numbers of incidents andsuccessful prosecutions by the Health and Safety Executive(HSE).”

He adds: “From June 2003, another part of the regulationswill be implemented and this will require companies to assess wherethey have flammable atmospheres. These assessments and associatedrisk management measures will have to be verified by a competentprofessional, often an insurance provider.

“Unless companies apply the necessary resources tounderstand and fulfill the requirements, the HSE is empowered toprosecute.

“With the complexity of the regulations – nowcovering a greater number of materials and substances other thanflammable liquids and gases – businesses could benefit fromUK insurers’ expertise.

“Equally, brokers should have access to insurers’knowledge of the technical aspects of the regulations and how bestto advise their clients in terms of risk.”

Norwich Union is running a series of one-day seminars to helporganisations implement the requirements of the regulations. Forfurther information telephone 0500 559977.

For press enquiries, please contact Jon Clements atStaniforth Communications on 0161 274 0100 or David Ross at NorwichUnion on 08703 66 68 65/07786 526350.

Notes to editors

  • 1 DSEAR will apply at any workplace where there is presentflammable liquids, gases and vapours, combustible dusts and anysubstance or mixture of substances with the potential to create arisk from energetic (energy-releasing) events such as fire,explosions, thermal runaway from exothermic reactions etc. Suchsubstances, known in DSEAR as dangerous substances, include:petrol, liquefied petroleum gas, paints, varnishes, solvents andcertain types of dust that are explosive (e.g. wood dust).
  • 2 DSEAR will implement the requirements of two European UnionDirectives, the Chemical Agents Directive and the ExplosiveAtmospheres Directive.
  • 3 DSEAR was laid before Parliament on 15 November 2002 andcame into force on 9 December 2002.
  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer. In generalinsurance it is more than 1.5 times the size of its nearestcompetitor, and has a 16 per cent share of the market.
  • It has a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses. It insures:
    • one in five households
    • one in five motor vehicles
    • more than 700,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases are available on the Avivaplc website at
  • A selection of images are available from the Norwich UnionNewscast site at

For all life and pensions media enquiries 08703 66 68 73
For all other media enquiries 08703 66 68 68

Members of the General Insurance Standards Council
Members of the Aviva group

Back to top