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DSEAR RA on Highly Flammable Substances

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Messy
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DSEAR RA on Highly Flammable Substances

Post by Messy »

We have been locating our bulk storage of alcohol based hand sanitiser in a large storeroom for the last few months.
My knowledge of DSEAR and chemical storage is not great, but I doubt very much the location and method of storage is a suitable and sufficient method in relation to H&S, environmental controls or fire safety.

To be honest, it was an emergency storage solution when I was 'on holiday' for three months and I have turned a part-blind eye since my return. However, my stance has changed recently and its my opinion that the many 'just for now' solutions adopted by my employer have to change as this Cover emergency is no longer short term, but likely to drag on at least in the medium term future. This maybe a year or more.

From a fire safety point of view, with many of our near empty buildings beginning to fill up to the new normal occupancy levels, I need to step up control measures to treats risks such as sanitiser use and storage in a business and usual status. We store around 800 - 1000l of sanitiser

My understanding is our sanitiser has a flash point of around 18c, which makes it a 'highly flammable' substance, so a DSEAR risk assessment is required. Am I correct?

I feel competent in understanding the fire safety part of the RA, but I do not feel competent is analysing and extracting relevant information from a MSDS. I might simply refuse to do the RA, but is there any easy guidance in what I should be looking for from the MSDS?
Does this storage require IS rated lighting in the store and what about ventilation????

Help!! :shock:

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Re: DSEAR RA on Highly Flammable Substances

Post by Alexis »

This is most unusual that our Messy is seeking assistance.....can anyone offer anything please?

Thank you in advance if anyone can assist.
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Re: DSEAR RA on Highly Flammable Substances

Post by bernicarey »

Hi Messy

Most sanitiser seems to use Ethanol 80% v/v or Isopropyl 75% v/v though some are lower at around 50%.
But you're right, the FP is around 17 - 19C.

It will require a DSEAR assessment to meet the rules, but that doesn't have to be anything special or complicated, it just follows the standard risk assessment process. It's not as if you've got a complex refinery or bulk storage to assess.

Take a look at indg 370 as a starting point. https://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/indg370.pdf

Some of the issues around storage will depend on the container sizes, have you got lots of 500ml pumps or larger containers 1L, 5L or larger?

You'll need to consider possible bunding for leakage and the ventilation aspects.
Is the storeroom fitted with standard electric lights and sockets with the risk of fumes building up and kaboom?

I think the fumes from the relevant alcohol types are all heavier than air, so similar issues to LPG laying at floor level for example.


Depending where you got the supplies from, the MSDS will be of variable quality/value in doing an assessment. I've seen some good and some diabolical examples in circulation.
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Re: DSEAR RA on Highly Flammable Substances

Post by witsd »

The few things I've read seem to imply that the sanitiser itself usually has a flash point of over 21°C, but then state that they will give off a flammable vapour, without stating the flashpoint of the vapour, so that's helpful.

What is clear is that the vapour will be heavier than air, so providing that there's negligible ignition sources, no direct sunlight and reasonable low-level ventilation (and AFAIK no history of hand sanitiser storage areas exploding) I personally would be tempted to assume that things are okay.

Any analysis going further than that would probably require a trained DSEAR assessor.
We often think that when we have completed our study of one we know all about two, because 'two' is 'one and one.' We forget that we still have to make a study of 'and.'

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Re: DSEAR RA on Highly Flammable Substances

Post by Messy »

Many thanks

From this rather small task of reviewing the risks posed by storage of Covid sanitiser, and with research online and on this website, I have opened up a can or worms as I have identified a gap in the management systems we use for managing safety across our estate.

I assumed (but never asked) that the H&S team looked after DSEAR stuff as its HSE controlled legislation. They thought (but also never asked) as DSEAR is all about controlling fire and explosion risk, it was the Fire Safety team's area. As fire safety and H&S are managed by two different departments, nobody has cross referenced what we do, or more importantly what we do not do in terms of compliance. Whoops!

In all practical ways its not a huge issue as we have both been covering and controlling the relevant risks during our overlapping assessments. However this legacy issue does need to be addressed and a formal policy adopted to make sure we have a watertight management system, rather than the wet finger in the air approach as now ;)

Many thanks for the replies

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Re: DSEAR RA on Highly Flammable Substances

Post by Alexis »

Just as an added line of interest from this thread. I have created a post with reference to the horrific Beirut Explosion currently on our news.

https://www.healthandsafetytips.co.uk/f ... =1&t=50424
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