Diesel now flammable as chip becomes CLP – by Technical Director, Wyn Turnbull

As of 1st June 2015 the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Chemicals (Amendments to Secondary Legislation) Regulations revoked the UK’s CHIP [Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply)] Regulations and replaced them by implementing the EU CLP Regulation.

One of the principal impacts of the revision is that the upper flash point for Category 3 flammable liquids, previously 55°C within the UK, has been increased to 60°C, hence now classifying diesel fuel as a flammable liquid. As a consequence, the storage and use of diesel fuel now falls under the requirements of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 (DSEAR) which set minimum requirements for the protection of workers from fire and explosion risks related to dangerous substances and potentially explosive atmospheres.

To date there have been few statutory frameworks controlling the storage and use of diesel fuel. Ventilation requirements of tank rooms under the Building Regulations and fire officer’s requirements for fire compartmentation and fuel dumping being the existing primary controlled aspects.

The change in the regulations means that, under the DSEAR Regulations, duties are placed upon employers in relation to diesel fuel installations which will include the need to undertake risk assessments and compliance with the Potentially Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (ATEX).

Practically, the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) published view is that, the actual properties of diesel fuel (and the other similar fuel oils) have not changed. The risks have therefore not altered however, there is now a statutory framework under which risk assessments must be undertaken and the findings implemented irrespective of costs.