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Changes to guidance on dangerous substances in the workplace


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has announced changes that will make is easier for employers to understand how to protect their workers from dangerous substances and explosive atmospheres.

The HSE has consolidated five Approved Codes of Practice (ACOPs) under the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR), covering issues from plant design and operation, through to maintenance.

The likely consequence of this is that it may well be more difficult for a business to avoid prosecution for failing to carry out the necessary risk assessments and putting proper procedures in place to protect workers from dangerous substances and explosive atmospheres.

This is because the new guidance makes it clearer as to what a business needs to do to seek to protect their employer in that regard.

Legal responsibilities (ie the requirements of the DSEAR regulations) to protect workers’ safety are not altered by any redrafting to the ACOP.

However, according to the HSE the text is now clearer and simpler overall and merging the five ACOPs eliminates repetition across the original documents.

The new ACOP is being introduced following public consultation and ministerial and HSE Board approval.

If you require further information on complying with health and safety laws, or any other regulatory legal matter, contact David Edwards on 01772 258321 or

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