Storage of Explosives (Fireworks)

The Explosives Regulations 2014 (external link) came into force on 1 October 2014, and the Approved Code of Practice to the Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005, and the Guide to the Placing on the Market and Supervision of Transfers of Explosives Regulations 1993, have been withdrawn.

The Explosives Regulations 2014 guidance applies to anyone who has duties under the safety provisions of the Explosives Regulations 2014, particularly employers, private individuals and other people manufacturing explosives, storing larger quantities of explosives or storing explosives that present higher hazards.

Failure to meet these requirements may render anyone storing explosives liable to prosecution.

In general any person storing explosives must hold a licence. In addition any person who stores explosives should do so in a safe manner.

This guidance summarises the requirements of a licence for the storage of fireworks when sold in retail premises to members of the public.

Reference is made to the 'net mass' (NM) of fireworks, which is the actual quantity of explosive contained within the fireworks. This is not the same as gross weight, which includes all the fireworks, immediate packaging, casing etc.If you do not know the net mass of a fireworks it is taken to be ¼ of its gross weight. For example if the fireworks weigh 1000kg they are taken to have a net mass of 250kg.

You are permitted to store up to 250kg net mass of Hazard Type 4 fireworks. Most fireworks for sale in retail premises are generally classified as Hazard Type 4 and are labelled 1.4G on their transit boxes.

Larger type fireworks, labelled 1.3G on their transport packages, will generally be classified as Hazard Type 3. The storage quantities and legislation for this hazard type are different to the guidance given in this document and you should contact the fire service for further information on the storage of this type of firework.

Any person who stores fireworks should carry out a risk assessment and take the appropriate measures to control the risks identified.

See the Fireworks in shops: Retailers' risk assessment checklist - PDF (external link)

Fireworks can be stored in the building (shop) from which they are sold. However the risk of a fire involving or spreading to fireworks is increased due to the other activities that take place in the working environment, including the presence of members of the public. It is therefore, imperative that control measure are put in place to prevent the accidental ignition of the fireworks and to restrict the spread of fire. These objectives are achieved by segregating the fireworks from sources of ignition, heat, other combustibles, flammable goods and public access.

Methods of segregation include storing fireworks in:

  • A suitable lockable store room
  • A metal ISO shipping container located outside in a secure location used solely for firework storage.
  • Fire resistant storage cupboards, cabinets or containers used solely for firework storage.

You must ensure that the location is suitable for the quantity of fireworks that you are storing and that the fireworks are kept in their boxes.

For any storage of fireworks, including "dummies" you must ensure that:

  • The quantities of fireworks including "dummies" being stored, handled or displayed in areas where employees work are controlled and within the weight limits
  • Sources of heat such as portable heaters are kept well away from the fireworks.
  • Smoking is not allowed
  • Any electrics or lighting do not pose a risk of ignition. Electrics and lighting in display cabinets and small containers where fireworks are stored are disconnected
  • Fireworks including "dummies" are stored in boxes
  • Fireworks are not emptied into metal dustbins
  • Entry into the storeroom is restricted to employees only
  • The storage area must be clean of loose powder and unwanted packaging
  • There are adequate means of escape in case of fire
  • Suitable lighting present within the store room

Please remember! Under no circumstances must live fireworksk including "dummies" be displayed in shop windows or on open displays such as shelves.

Displaying of fireworks in the sales area must be in a designated area away from any ignition sources and which can be supervised by staff at all times. The fireworks must be displayed in locked cabinets, cases or cupboards.

Display cabinets and cases must:

  • Contain no more than 12.5kg 'net mass' of fireworks
  • Be made of material that does not catch fire readily such as wood, metal, glass and Perspex
  • Be completely enclosed on all sides and having no gaps
  • Designed to protect against sparks and other sources of ignition
  • Not permit access from the public and be kept locked when unattended
  • Not be used to store other goods with the fireworks
  • Not contain electrics or lighting
  • Kept clean and tidy
  • Not located along escape routes

You must ensure that only safe levels of fireworks are stored in the sales area. Under no circumstances should the amount of fireworks stored in the shop areas exceed the levels shown in the following table:

Total floor area of sales area
Sq ms

Maximum quantity of fireworks stored
'net mass' / gross weight kgs

UP TO 20 12.5/50
40 15/60
60 20/80
80 25/100
100 30/120
150 35/140
200 40/160
250 45/180
300 50/200
350 55/220
400 60/240
450 65/260
499 70/280
OVER 500 75/300

If more than 75 kgs 'net mass' fireworks and stored within or adjoining a building containing domestic or sleeping accommodation, suitable steps must be taken to protect the residents of those premises in the event of fire. The following specific precautions must be taken.

  • A fire detection system (linked smoke detectors) must be installed in the shop.
  • The domestic parts of the building must have access and exit routes that are fire-separated from those used for the firework store.
  • There must be suitable fire separation between the firework store and the domestic premises (for example doors, floors and ceiling offering 30 minutes fire resistance).
  • The store must be closed off and secured from the domestic part of the premises to prevent unauthorised access (Including children) and also help prevent the accidental introduction of ignition sources.

Metal Shipping containers

If containers are used for storing fireworks. The following criteria must be adopted:

  • They must be kept in an area away from the public access.
  • Measures must be taken to prevent smoking in the immediate area of the container.
  • Where it is necessary to use land or a car park adjacent to a building it is essential to fence off the container the fencing must be at least 3 metres from the container. The fence will prevent arson, malicious acts and vehicles parking or colliding into the container.
  • All locking points of the container should be locked with a suitable lock.

If the container is being used to sell directly to the public. The following criteria must be adopted:

  • You must contact the local council to ascertain whether a street trading licence is required:
  • The fireworks stored in the container must not exceed 12.5kg 'net mass'
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Last update: 22/02/2017 12:35:30
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