Friday, August 1, 2008

Firework Importation and British Standards

Imports into the UK

Imported fireworks have to be authorised and classified by the HSE, and this represents some restriction to ensure that fireworks of unknown or unsatisfactory composition and performance cannot legally be held or used.

BS 7114 1988

This British Standard was introduced to bring some order and definition to the range and variety of fireworks available to the public, particularly in the light of increased imports, as above. The underlying purpose was to enhance the safety of fireworks by the specification of construction and performance, and by the provision of instructions for their proper use.

Categories of Fireworks

Part 1 of the Standard defines fireworks under four Categories, depending on how they are to be used, and lists and briefly describes the types in each Category.

Category 1

Should not cause injury to people standing 1m or more away, and not cause damage to property.

In the case of hand-held fireworks, should not cause injury to the holder.

Category 2

Should not cause injury to people standing 5m or more away. In the case of sparklers, the holder should not be injured by hot slag dropping, nor by sparks. Any fuse fitted should allow the person igniting the firework to withdraw at least 5m before initiation.

Category 3

Should not cause injury to people standing 25m or more away. People firing these fireworks would be expected to wear suitable PPE.

Category 4

Fireworks which are incomplete and/or not intended for public sale.

Other requirements of the Standard

Part 2 of the Standard gives the specifications for each type in each Category, including requirements for marking and labelling. Part 3 describes the test methods.

There are no references in Parts 2 and 3 of the Standard to Category 4 fireworks. Part 1 recommends that they be marked with the warning “This device must not be sold to, or used by, a member of the general public”. It also forbids any marking referring to the Standard on, or in relation to, Category 4 fireworks.

Preliminary Regulations for Packing & Transport

These were referred to at the start of the course-‘Classification and Labelling of Explosives 1983’ These Regulations first brought explosives in the UK within UN classification system, as described above.

Before explosives are transported, kept, or supplied –

· They must be classified and assigned to a UN number and Compatibility Group, as above

· The packages must be marked with the UN name and number, and labelled with two Class warning signs, normally 100mm square, showing the Division and Compatibility Group

Packaging of Explosives for Carriage 1991

The UN specifications for packaging

The UN specifies types of packaging, and assigns codes to them. For fireworks, the most common types are likely to be the fibreboard box type 4 G. Note that this UN packaging code has nothing to do with the UN Division and Compatibility Group letter 1.4 G.

Performance testing of packaging

Explosives must normally be carried in UN-approved packaging. An approved package is one where a prototype has successfully undergone the UN performance tests for the type at a Government-approved test establishment. Apart from the type approval, the packaging must be suitable in all respects, e.g. undamaged.

No one may carry explosives if they know that they are not in compliance, e.g. they are not in UN-approved packaging, or otherwise exempt.

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