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Case Studies » National Museums Scotland

The Challenge

A visit was made to the Collections Centre of the National Museum of Scotland to consider compliance in respect of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR). These regulations came into force in the UK in 2003 and adopt a risk-based approach to protect personnel against fire and explosion hazard. This survey/assessment covered the DSEAR assessment for the Collections site and included hazardous area classification.

The Collections Centre is a remote site from the main museum and prepares specimens for long term storage and acts as a store for preserved specimens. The specimens are fixed in formalin and preserved in alcohol.

Primarily the DSEAR focus was upon arrangements for handling of flammable raw materials mainly in pellet form and explosion relief of dust collection equipment fitted to extraction systems.

The solution provided

DSEAR imposes 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 a work process. The responsible person must carry out a suitable and sufficient assessment of risk to employees for dangerous substances that are or may be present on-site.

The main focus of the DSEAR survey and risk assessment undertaken was for denatured ethanol held in 1000 litre steel intermediate bulk containers (IBC). A detailed review of the systems and controls in place was completed and HAC classification clearly provided. Included was:

  • Verification of explosion protection by viewing Technical Protection Measures such as ventilation and the installation of equipment suitable for the zone of hazard.
  • Organisational Measures for Explosion Protection were discussed and verified with appropriate recommendations made.

It was determined that the operations were generally Low Risk but a small number of key improvement recommendations were presented to management.

What National Museums Scotland said:

The report was comprehensive and the risk assessment and recommendations gave us reassurance that our wet collections operations are safe as long as they are operated, managed and maintained appropriately. Phil Durrant clearly has in depth knowledge and experience in the DSEAR field.

Ruairidh Walker
National Museums Scotland