With Halloween and Bonfire night approaching followed with Christmas and New Year celebration, we are now coming to the time of year that fireworks become popular and readily available in almost all shops.

If you own a shop premises that sells or supplies fireworks there are requirements and regulations that you will need to be aware of.

You will need to know the correct legislation details which governs the sale and storage of fireworks.  We have found on our local Manchester City Council website a business advice sheet around the retail sale of Fireworks.

You will also need to take responsibility for health and safety at work and adhere to the fire safety laws.  Again this information is included within the link above.

Risk Assessments must be carried out on your premises, what would you do if a fire started on your premises and do you have the correct fire safety equipment to hand.  The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced a checklist to help you carry out a risk assessment and this can be downloaded 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.

As a retail shop you would have to register to obtain a licence from your local council to give you the permissions to be allowed to store fireworks that are available to be bought.  If you are not registered or licensed and found to be selling fireworks you can be fined up to £5,000 or given a prison sentence of up to 6 months or even both in some cases.

There are two types of categories to enable the selling of Fireworks under the Fireworks Regulations of 2004. Licensed for all year sales or registered for selling fireworks at specific times:

From the 15th October to the 10th November
From 26th December to the 31st December
The first day of Chinese New Year and for three days before
Diwali and for three days before

The amount of Fireworks that can be sold on a shop premises is also determined be the size of the sale area. For example the size of the sales area is where the public have access to, and keeping fireworks in a designated area and away from sources of ignition.

The law states that fireworks must not be sold to anyone under the age of 18 and a large notice must be displayed within your premises.

The law also states that it is illegal to sell caps, cracker snaps, novelty matches, party poppers, serpents and throw-downs to anyone under the age of 16.

All fireworks have to comply with British Standard BS 7114 and meet certain noise conditions.  They must have BS 7114 printed on the box.

Fireworks must be kept in closed transport packaging, and suitable display and storage cabinets.

Fireworks must be sold in the manufacturers’ packed sets.  Boxes of fireworks must not be split and sold separately.

Unless the Fireworks are kept for private usage it is an offence to keep more than 5kg of fireworks on the premises that have not been registered with a license. The amount notes below are for either a shop floor or storage area.

Registration is required if storing of up to 250kg of Hazard Type 4 fireworks
A licence is required if storing more than 250kg NEQ of fireworks
An HSE licence is required if storing more than 2000kg NEQ of fireworks

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.