The safety of fireworks is a widely discussed topic in the run up to Bonfire Night, on the 5 November, each year. There have been sustained calls for fireworks to be banned from sale to the general public, but thus far politicians have resisted this. Instead, extensive controls on the manufacture, transportation, storage and supply of fireworks have been introduced, including age restrictions.
Fireworks are explosives and can result in significant injuries if misused, therefore it’s vital that retailers educate themselves on the controls put in place and adhere to them, especially at this time of year. Here, Tony Allen, managing director of Under Age Sales, provides five top tips for retailers to ensure their firework safety doesn’t go up in smoke:
- Registration: as a keeper of explosives, a retailer selling fireworks must obtain a licence from the Explosives Licensing Authority. This differs from area to area but is usually the local council or fire service.
- Records: under new Regulations, retailers across the UK will now be required to keep a record of where they source their fireworks from for 10 years. The Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2015 place a new duty on all ‘economic operators’ to keep records of firework transactions throughout the supply chain. This includes vendors that sell fireworks onto other businesses.
- Check the age: It is illegal to sell fireworks or sparklers to people under the age of 18. It is also illegal for under 18s to be in possession of fireworks in a public place, and if they get caught, law enforcement is likely to enquire where they purchased the products from.
Cracker snaps, indoor fireworks, novelty matches, party poppers, gunpowder, serpents and throwdowns can all be sold to any person over 16 years of age. These are now category F1 fireworks. Retailers should also note that Christmas crackers can only be sold to people over 12 years of age.
- Legal sale times: fireworks are permitted for sale between 00:01 hours on 15th October to 23:59 hours on 10th November.Any retailer wishing to supply fireworks outside these periods must apply for an ‘All Year Round Licence’.
- Signage: the regulations mentioned in point two have also set new specifications and new categories for fireworks; ‘Garden Fireworks’ and ‘Display Fireworks’ have been replaced by F2 and F3 Fireworks. This means that retailers will have to change their statutory firework notices to reflect the new categories. All retailers of fireworks are required to clearly display a notice (for which there are minimum size requirements) stating the following text:
- It is illegal to sell category F2 fireworks or category F3 fireworks to anyone under the age of 18
- It is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess category F2 fireworks or category F3 fireworks in a public place
For more information and advice visit www.underagesales.co.uk.