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Case Studies » EMJ Plastics Ltd

The challenge

A visit was made to EMJ Plastics Ltd. at Filey, North Yorkshire in January 2014, to consider compliance with the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR). EMJ Plastics activity incorporates specialist facilities associated with the manufacture of formed products used in the buildings and sanitary ware sectors.

Operations carried out on site involve a number of hazardous substances with extensive use of polyester resin and some flammable liquids – these are housed in purpose-designed storage locations but vapours are likely during use. Combustible / Flammable dust is also likely based upon joinery, trimming and other process activities as part of bespoke GRP product manufacture – including reinforced panels. Facilities also include provision for fuel and kerosene use on-site.

The solution provided

The Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) impose a requirement to eliminate or reduce risks to safety from fire, explosion or other events arising from the hazardous properties of any dangerous substance used in connection with work processes.

An assessment of the site was completed in compliance with the DSEAR regulations 2002 and the overall risk deemed acceptable albeit with a number of improvements required.

Operations at the Clarence Drive site routinely involve hazardous substances that may require DSEAR controls though impact is lessened where effective on-site housekeeping regimes, limited material handling and / or containment of flammable substances applies. Some potential release sources were identified to management.

GRP operations involve routine use of flammable substances and most resins, catalyst and gelcoat products contain flammable Styrene and generate vapour that will ignite at a temperature just in excess of ambient conditions at around 32°C.

Some substances may ignite readily at typical factory temperatures and hence effective ventilation is an important protective measure. It was reinforced that LEV should be subject to regular monitoring and that good levels of general ventilation throughout factory areas are important.

Any flammable vapour may form an explosive mixture with air if present in enclosed or poorly ventilated areas – i.e. vapour builds up and may be ignited by a spark, heat or open flames. Acetone is a potential hazard in any GRP plant as typically its stored in buckets or solvent bins that release vapour on a regular basis.

All of these issued were considered and a detailed DSEAR report, hazardous zoning plan and series of recommendations was issued to management to ensure sufficient control of DSEAR risks is maintained.