Health & Safety

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Firework Safety

26 October 2009

box of fireworks

Fireworks can be enjoyable provided they are stored and used safely and responsibly.

There are laws to govern the use and possession of fireworks, and how they are stored and sold. The Health and Safety Executive and local authorities (usually Trading Standards Officers) enforce firework legislation to protect consumers and the general public.

The Law

It is an offence to throw or set off fireworks in any highway, street, thoroughfare or public place. Anyone found guilty is liable to pay a fine of up to 5,000 and can be imprisoned for up to six months. Penalty notices for disorder (on-the-spot fines) can also be issued for this offence, attracting the upper tier fine of 80.

It is an offence for the under 18's to possess fireworks in a public place and for anyone to let fireworks off during night hours (11pm to 7am). Police also have the power to issue penalty notices for disorder for these offences. The offence attracts the upper tier fine of 80.

It is an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to any domestic or captive animals. The penalty on conviction is either imprisonment up to 51 weeks or a fine of up to 20,000 or both.

The Firework Safety Code

  1. Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114.
  2. Don't drink alcohol if setting off fireworks.
  3. Keep fireworks in a closed box.
  4. Follow the instructions on each firework.
  5. Light them at arm's length, using a taper.
  6. Stand well back.
  7. Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn't gone off, it could still explode.
  8. Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them.
  9. Always supervise children around fireworks.
  10. Light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves.
  11. Never give sparklers to a child under five.
  12. Keep pets indoors.
  13. Don't let off noisy fireworks after 11pm.

And remember...

Fireworks. Be safe not sorry. Always follow the code.