Explosions and fires within the food industry are a known hazard and can have devastating and irreversible effects. Food manufacturing companies are obliged by law to identify and protect workers from the risks of fire and explosion. Many ingredients used by food manufacturing companies are classified as dangerous substances.

Most food processes require one or more of the following. Storage, handling, screening, blending, mixing, processing, and packaging. Each of these processes introduces the opportunity for fire or explosion when handling powders. DSEAR (Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmosphere Regulations) sets out the minimum requirements placed on employers for the protection of workers when handling dangerous substances.

Food manufacturing companies are obliged both by law and by their insurance companies to ensure DSEAR compliance. Failure to do so not only places their employees in danger but the companies are at risk of severe financial penalties and rising insurance costs by a failure to comply.

Path to DSEAR Compliance and Certification

Dodman has developed well-proven processes that identify risk, then identify solutions to reduce the risk and generate records to prove compliance. Very often there are many potential solutions to a DSEAR problem. Where necessary a front-end engineering design (FEED) study can be provided to determine the most cost-effective solution. A FEED study allows an accurate price to be forwarded for budget approval and an accurate schedule where the changes will impact production.

Where possible Dodman will apply solutions that are specified in ISO, EN and BS standards. More than sixty standards are generally applied to ensure compliance. Where standards are not applicable a detailed risk assessment is carried out which references authoritative guidelines and technical papers.

We have developed a structured approach to risk assessment and compliance and all projects are supported by a detailed report of the necessary steps to compliance.


Project Management

DSEAR project management integrates the compliance process with the progression of the work through all stages of the project. Starting with a detailed review of the plant, the operational conditions and requirements. A full understanding of the processes involved and the equipment used within those processes. How people interact with the system, how the process is automated and the information entered and extracted from the process. The DSEAR risk assessment looks at the materials used and the potential for those materials to catch fire or explode.  Once the DSEAR requirements are established decisions can be made regarding the suitability of the existing equipment, modification or possible replacement. At each stage of the process, the project manager will be keeping careful control of costs and performance criteria. The project manager will coordinate the design, manufacturing and procurement ensuring the equipment complies fully with the risk assessment. The project manager will start to prepare for the installation of the equipment and schedule the required testing and site activities. Once the system has been installed and commissioned the project manager will authorise an audit of the specification and ongoing responsibilities before signing the certificate of DSEAR compliance.


Project management

DSEAR design process

The DSEAR design process consists of four main stages of work

  1. Fact-finding
  2. Risk assessment
  3. Design
  4. Verification


It is important to understand the company’s requirements, timescales, production priorities, procedures, rules and regulations and other important information. A detailed understanding of the food production processes, equipment, quantities, and cycle times. A detailed understanding will be needed for any existing DSEAR, maintenance, health and safety reports.

Risk assessment

Understanding the full safety requirements for each material is essential. Any missing information must be requested or obtained through testing. Using the material data and the detailed knowledge of the plant a hazardous are classification can be prepared. An ignition risk assessment is generated before a risk assessment can consider how risks can be reduced and the equipment performance level required.


The risk assessment is used to prepare a new process design which details how the plant will need to be designed. Where necessary structural verification may be needed for vessels and other equipment. Equipment is selected in accordance with the risk assessment. The design process is completed with mechanical layouts and details. Control and electrical installation are prepared to meet the requirements of the process design. The complete design is summarised in the functional design specification.


All components used in the system are entered in the component dossier, where the specification is matched against the requirements of the risk assessment. A DSEAR audit is completed that ensures that the designed process conforms with DSEAR. On completion of all actions, the DSEAR compliance certificate is signed.


Dodman site installation

Site Installation

Our site installation team are proficient in food manufacturing systems as well as all of them trained in DSEAR. Planning for installation work starts with a detailed discussion with both customer engineering, production staff and the DSEAR design team. Installation work is planned to have the minimum disruption on production. Where necessary Dodman can provide full construction design management (CDM) of all activities taking place within the designated work area. The installation team will prepare risk assessment and method statements (RAMS) to ensure that work is carried out safely and in accordance with site standards. All DSEAR installation work is managed by a Compex trained supervisor.

Following installation, Dodman will ensure that the plant is correctly commissioned and supervised during start-up. All installation work is checked to comply with the DSEAR design specifications before the DSEAR audit report is completed and signed off.