With bonfire night, Christmas and New Years Eve just around the corner, celebration season is upon us – with that inevitably comes fireworks. The storage and retail sale of fireworks are no longer restricted to the traditional Bonfire Night period in November, fireworks are also used to celebrate birthdays, New Year, Diwali, Hanukkah or the Chinese New Year.
If you own a retail premises that is supplying fireworks for such events and celebrations, it is important that you are aware of the limitations, restrictions and laws regarding their storage and sale. We like this useful retailer’s guide to selling fireworks provided by the GOV.uk which contains everything you need to know including fire precautions to age restrictions.
Unless you have applied to your local authority, paid the fee of £500, and been granted an all-year licence, then you can only supply fireworks:
- from 15 October to 10 November
- from 26 to 31 December
- on the first day of the Chinese New Year and the three days immediately preceding this
- on the first day of Diwali and the three days immediately preceding this.
If you sell fireworks you have certain obligations to the public and your staff, it is also important that you carry out a risk assessment on your premises, ensuring that if a fire did start, you had the right precautions in place. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced a retailer risk assessment checklist to help you plan what actions you should take which is available as a printout from their website.
If you have more than 5 employees, you must record the risks identified in this assessment and the precautions you have taken to deal with them. Make all staff aware and implement appropriate training issues as required.
Under the Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 (MSER), the amount of fireworks which are allowed to be stored on a shop floor is determined by the size of the sales area i.e. where the public have access:
Fireworks on the shop floor must be kept in a designated area well away from sources of ignition, in a display case or storage cupboard or cabinet which must:
- Contain a maximum of 12.5 kg Net Explosive Quantity (NEQ)
- Be designed to protect against sparks or other sources of ignition, and access by unauthorised persons
- Contain no other goods except any instruction leaflets/safety literature
- Have any lights or electrical fittings in cabinets/cases disconnected
Smoking must not be allowed anywhere where fireworks are stored or sold
Most importantly you will also need to check your retail shop insurance policy documents to make sure you have the correct business insurance that will give you the right levels of cover to sell Fireworks. If you are newly registered to sell fireworks it maybe that you will need to add Firework selling to your current policy.