Storing Explosives

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 explosive content' (NEC) of fireworks, this is the actual weight of explosive powder contained within the fireworks. This is not the same as gross weight, which includes all the fireworks, immediate packaging, casing etc.

You may be permitted to store up to 250kg NEC 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 with more explosive content are labelled 1.3G on their transport packaging. You can only store limited amounts of 1.3G fireworks and separation distances to other buildings etc. may be required. You should contact the fire service for further information on the storage of this type of firework.

Any person who stores fireworks must carry out a risk assessment and take the appropriate measures to control any risks found.

See the Fireworks in shops: Retailers' risk assessment checklist.

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 vital that control measures are put in place to prevent the accidental ignition of the fireworks and to restrict the spread of fire. This can be achieved by keeping fireworks away 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 if possible are kept in their transport boxes.

For any storage of fireworks you must ensure that:

  • The quantities of fireworks 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 must be disconnected
  • Fireworks are, when possible, stored in their transport  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 is present within the store room

If more than 75kgs 'NEC' of fireworks are 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 (eg. 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
Display cabinets

Please remember - under no circumstances must live fireworks 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 an area which can be supervised by staff at all times. Fireworks must be displayed in locked cabinets, cases or cupboards.

They 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
  • Be 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
Shop floor sales area

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 following levels:

Sales area (sq. m)

Maximum quantity of

fireworks (NEC)

Sales area (sq. m)

Maximum quantity of fireworks (NEC)

 

 

Sales area (sq. m)

Maximum quantity of Fireworks requiring  separation distance (NEC)

 

 

Sales Area (sq. m)

Maximum auantity of

Fireworks requiring separation distance (NEC)

Up to 20

12.5kg

Up to 250

45kg

Up to 20

20kg

Up to 250

90kg

Up to 40

15kg

Up to 300

50kg

Up to 40

25kg

Up to 300

100kg

Up to 60

20kg

Up to 350

55kg

Up to 60

35kg

Up to 350

110kg

Up to 80

25kg

Up to 400

60kg

Up to 80

50kg

Up to 400

120kg

Up to 100

30kg

Up to 450

65kg

Up to 100

60kg

Up to 450

130kg

Up to 150

35kg

Up to 500

70kg

Up to 150

70kg

Up to 500

140kg

Up to 200

40kg

Over 500

75kg

Up to 200

80kg

Over 500

150kg

 

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, with the fencing being 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'