Thousands of retailers could be breaking the law because they are failing to store fireworks correctly, online specialist in safety legislation Cedrec has warned.
The firm is urging anyone planning to sell fireworks for 5th November to check their legal responsibilities in the light of the new Explosives Regulations 2014 which came into force at the start of October.
In addition to duties under both health and safety at work and fire safety law, the new regulations require that anyone stocking fireworks must take appropriate measures to prevent fire or explosion, limit their extent, and protect people from their effects.
Significantly, a licence must be obtained from the local authority to permit the storage of Hazard Type 1 and Hazard Type 2 explosives or more than 5 kg net of Hazard Type 3 or Hazard Type 4 explosives which covers fireworks.
The Fireworks Regulations 2004 also requires a further licence to sell fireworks during certain times of the year – and this is in addition to any licence allowing retailers to store fireworks under the Explosives Regulations.
In addition, the Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2010 includes requirements on the types of fireworks that can be sold to members of the public as well as on the age of purchase.
Cedrec, which provides advice and guidance to organisations about changes to safety legislation, believes that thousands of retailers across the UK are unaware of the new requirements and are at risk of being caught out when it comes to their responsibilities.
Neil Howe, senior auditor and an expert on safety law, is urging anyone selling fireworks to move quickly to ensure they are properly protected. He says: “Protecting people is paramount, so carefully consider and manage the amount of stock in the shop sales area. Make sure also that your fire detection and alarm system is tested and working properly. Crucially, it must be a priority that staff and customers can leave the shop as quickly and safely as possible.”
The advice is to carry out a risk assessment to identify potential problems and solutions, including looking into the risks from fire and protecting people if a fire does break out.
Think about how you store your fireworks,” adds Neil Howe. “Keep them away from heaters, electrical supplies, substances like drain cleaners, paint strippers, peroxides. Don’t let them become damp, and restrict entry to where they are kept. Be clear about what could happen if a fire does start; so keep fireworks away from other flammable substances, like pallets, paper and cardboard boxes. Keep them in closed transport packaging until you’re ready to move them to display in the shop – then use suitable storage and display cabinets.
“More information is available form the fireworks supplier who is a useful source of advice and information, particularly with regard to returning unsold items. Your local licensing authority should also be happy to provide advice and assistance.”