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Updated guidance on dangerous substances in the workplace

9 December 2013

Five pieces of health and safety guidance have been combined to help employers more quickly and easily understand how to protect their workers from dangerous substances and explosive atmospheres.

The Health and Safety Executive (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 consolidated document (with the series code L138) is relevant to businesses handling or storing flammable substances. It is available to download or purchase from the HSE website at:

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

Kären Clayton, Director of HSE’s Long Latency Health Risks Division, explained: “The text is now clearer and simpler overall and merging the five ACOPs eliminates repetition across the original documents. Navigation has been improved with an enhanced contents list to enable the dutyholder to find the advice that is of most interest to them.”

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


Notes to editors

  1. An ACOP provides practical guidance on complying with the general duties of the Health and Safety at Work Act (HSWA) or the requirements of goal-setting regulations ( in this case The Dangerous Substances. and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002. ACOPs are not law but do have a special legal status; if the advice in ACOP material is followed in relevant circumstances dutyholders can be confident they are complying with the law. 
  2. The Health and Safety Executive is Britain’s national regulator for workplace health and safety. It aims to reduce work-related death, injury and ill health. It does so through research, information and advice; promoting training; new or revised regulations and codes of practice; and working with local authority partners by inspection, investigation and enforcement.

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