The statements identify the successful outcomes of the application of appropriate safety and security measures to the explosives operations. Duty holders should look to achieve these in a way that is proportionate to their business. The guidance assists duty holders with how to do this.
No. All of the guidance documents have been produced in line with these statements to bring consistency, but the information contained in the sub sector guidance documents is specific to that sector. For those who start with the sub sector guides (level 2), the guidance allows the duty holder to achieve the statement in a manner that is proportionate to them. If they feel they need further information then they can refer to the level 3 overarching guidance.
Further information on the guidance structure is available.
HSE's Explosives web pages will link to all the subsector guidance once published.
A civil explosive is an explosive which has been or would be classified in accordance with the United Nations Recommendations as falling within Class 1 but it does not include
Annex 1 to the civil explosives recast directive lists those items that are not within the scope of the definition of “civil explosives”. It should be noted that the list is not exhaustive.
Ultimately the decision whether an item is a pyrotechnic or civil explosive remains the responsibility of the Notified Body.
Many civil explosives will also be relevant explosives
A relevant explosive is an explosive for which an explosives certificate is required under regulation 5 of ER2014 for acquiring or keeping that explosive, or would be so required were it not for regulation 3(7), and, in relation to regulations 35 and 37 and paragraph 4 of Schedule 4 it also includes
Explosives listed in schedule 2 of ER2014 (other than smokeless powder as noted above) and pyrotechnic articles (apart from those listed at schedule 3 of ER2014) are not relevant explosives.
That depends on what you are doing.
A licence is required for most manufacturing activities. Manufacturing includes processes where explosive articles or explosive substances are made or assembled, or unmade or disassembled. The term also includes the repair or modification of explosive articles and the reprocessing, modification or adaptation of explosive substances. The manufacture section provides more information.
A licence is also required for the storage of explosives, unless only a small quantity of explosives is involved or certain explosives are being stored for a short period. The storage section provides more information.
The requirement for a licence to store explosives is dependant on a number of issues.
If the flares are explosives, which are not relevant explosives then you may store up to 5kg (net mass) of such explosives without the need for a licence provided that the explosives do not present a hazard type 1 (HT1) or Hazard Type 2 (HT2) hazard. The net mass (weight) of the explosives is the amount of explosive contained in the article not including any packaging or casings, therefore the mass of the explosive may only be a small percentage of the total mass of the item. The storage section provides more information.
If the flares are present a HT1 or HT2 hazard or you are storing more than 5kg (net mass) then you will need to apply for a licence. If you are storing no more than 2000kg of explosives then you should contact your Local Authority or the Police. If you are storing more than 2000kg of explosives then you should contact HSE. Details of which authority to contact in which circumstances can be found on the HSE website.
This will depend on:
More information see how to apply for a licence is available.
Information is available on:
When a licensing authority receives an application to license a site it needs to be able to:
Appropriate plans are therefore necessary if the licensing authority is to properly discharge its duties. Requiring the dutyholder to provide plans as part of their application for a licence removes an administrative burden from licensing authorities in producing such plans and reduces the costs of the licensing process.
The plans appended to a licence can also be used by emergency services in deciding how to manage an incident on, or in the vicinity of, a licensed explosive site and will also help licensing authorities during inspections because they specify where explosives should be located. If explosives are found elsewhere during an inspection a plan allows the inspector to consider their findings in line with relevant enforcement expectations.
Yes. Plans are also required for sites where zero separation distances apply. You can find out in the ‘What should the plans show?’ question immediately below.
Any plans should be proportionate to its function, and so where zero separation distances apply it would be expected that the plans would be simple, but still identify:
If a plan describes the intended storage locations in terms of general areas rather than specific places it:
Where the plan showing the boundary of the site and its surrounding area is of a suitable scale it would be appropriate to identify both internal and external storage locations on that plan rather than submitting an additional, separate, plan.
ER 2014 gives the term ‘site’ a specific meaning ie ‘…the whole area under the control of the same person…’. This means the plan of the site that you provide should show the whole area over which you have control including car parks and on-site petrol stations etc, as well as any adjoining land that is under your control.
The requirement for maps and plans is not new. The Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulation 2005 (MSER,) which were revoked by ER 2014, introduced a requirement for a register to include plans of sites granted a permission to store explosives where separation distances apply to the licensed site (ie including separation distances that are stated as ‘0’ within the relevant schedules). MSER also required the register to include maps in a scale sufficient to show the location of any stores.
The quantity of explosives that can be stored is governed by:
The storage section provides more information.
Every person who stores explosives at a site must ensure that the relevant separation distances prescribed by Schedule 5 of the Explosives Regulations 2014, are maintained.
Separation distances also apply to the storage of explosives even when a licence is not required.
Generally, the separation distance you will be required to maintain will depend on the:
There are exceptions to the requirement to maintain separation distances. Your licensing authority will be able to advise you on whether separation distances will apply.
The section on separation distances provides more information.
It depends on what you need the licence for and who you are applying to for your licence.
Licences for the Manufacture of Explosives, and the storage of more than 2000kg of explosives, issued by HSE can be granted for any period remain in force until such time that they are revoked or varied.
Licences for the storage of no more than 2000kg of explosives can be issued by the licensing authority for up to 5 years as the licensing authority determines.
For licences issued by the police or local authority
Contact your relevant licensing authority.
For licences from HSE to manufacture, or the storage of more than 2000kg.of explosives, or the storage of no more than 2000kg where separation distances can’t be met
Target times for HSE to agree licenses, as of the 4 April 2011, are:
For licences from HSE for the storage of no more than 2000kg, at a mine or in a harbour where separation distances can be met
It depends on whether it is a new licence or a renewal.
If it is a new licence HSE will normally visit the site as part of the application process, so the target time can vary, depending on whether the site is suitable and all the information is correct.
If the application is for a renewal licence, there is no change to the quantity or hazard type being stored and there have been no changes to the available separation distances around the store the target time to agree licences is approximately 2-3 weeks.
The price of a licence depends on the type of licence requested.
For a licence the storage of no more than 2000kg of explosives, the fee is dependant on whether it is a new licence, or a renewal and the period for which it is granted for.
For a licence requiring local authority assent, an initial fee is charged with a fee per hour worked on the licence. The actual amount will vary depending on processing time and work involved.
Your current licence or registration issued under The Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 (MSER) will remain valid under the transitional provisions of the Explosives Regulations 2014 until it either reaches its expiry date or you need to change it. Contact your licensing authority if you require further advice.
No. Licensing authorities will be expected to take a proportionate, risk-based approach that recognises the nature of business and the likely lifetime of the licensed site. e.g. pop up shops, freehold retail. Other factors that should also be considered:
Laboratory analysis, testing, demonstration and experimentation are not defined in the regulations but in order to ensure the purposes for which an explosive can be acquired or acquired and kept are consistently described and understood the enforcing authorities have agreed that:
Even if you don’t need a licence to manufacture explosives, you may still require an explosives certificate to acquire and/or acquire and keep explosives from the police. Contact your local police explosives liaison officer for advice
The recast civil explosive Directive specifies that instructions must be clear, understandable and intelligible.
The recast requires the manufacturer to take the corrective action measures necessary to bring the civil explosive into conformity, to withdraw it or to recall it where appropriate. If the civil explosive presents a ‘risk’, the manufacturer must immediately inform the competent authorities of the member States in which they have made the civil explosives available (for Great Britain it is the HSE) giving details of the non-compliance and the corrective action taken. Further information on what economic operators must do when a product is not in conformity is available.
We are awaiting further clarification from the EU Commission on whether Article 5(1) of the recast intends for this to be considered as ‘own use’ and within the scope of conformity assessment. HSE will provide updates through the explosives communities’ webpage and industry representative groups once clarification has been received.
Yes. This falls under Article 5 (1) of the recast Directive. The intention is to bring this activity within scope as the explosives are being placed on the market or used for their own purposes by the blasting provider in the delivery of the service.
Blasting service providers can submit the mix composition for their explosives to a notified body to be conformity assessed. The paper work, including the CE mark can then accompany the blasting service provider. HSL (UK’s ENB) have confirmed that the CE mark can be for a family consisting of a range of mix values as long as the full range is declared at the time they are assessed.
No. "Use for own purposes" in Article 5(1) of recast only covers the manufacturer's use for own purposes relating directly to the blasting effect of the explosives, and not the manufacturer's use for other purposes, such as research and development, trials, education, experiments, incorporation into a formulation or article, disposal or extraction for disposal. The conformity assessment and CE-marking requirements in Article 5(2) of the new Explosives Directive do not apply to explosives excluded from Article 5(1). This maintains the status quo.
No. "Use for own purposes" in Article 5(1) of the new Explosives Directive only covers economic operators, be they legal or natural persons, and hence excludes own use by natural persons for non-commercial purposes (e.g. shooters).The conformity assessment and CE-marking requirements in Article 5(2) of the new Explosives Directive do not apply to explosives excluded from Article 5(1). This maintains the status quo.
Any transfer between economic operators of a product is considered as “making available” on the market. "Placing on the market" is the first time that the product is introduced on the market. This operation is reserved either for a manufacturer or an importer, i.e. the manufacturer and the importer are the only economic operators who place products on the market. Any subsequent operation, for instance, from a distributor to another or to an end-user is defined as making available.
No further CE mark is required on the ‘ready to fire’ all-up assembly, providing that where additional initiation hazards are identified, a further conformity assessment of the assembly regarding these additional risks is carried out. Where assembled items are not immediately used, but stored elsewhere, a further CE mark on the all-up assembled item would also be required.
The mix composition for the explosives can be submitted to a notified body to be conformity assessed (HSL are the UK’s ENB). HSL have confirmed that the CE mark can be for a family consisting of a range of mix values as long as the full range is declared at the time they are assessed. The paper work, including the CE mark, can then accompany the blasting service provider.
Yes. Any tests conducted to demonstrate compliance with the essential safety requirements (module B assessment) must either be:
If a manufacturer produces an EU declaration of conformity that follows the model set out in Annex IV to Directive 2014/28/EU, it shall contain the elements specified in the relevant modules set out in Annex III and shall be continually updated.
Yes. The amending Regulations only amend certain parts of ER2014. The amending Regulations need to be read with ER 2014.
Yes. The existing approaches remain unaffected by the recast and the amending regulations.
The Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) is the Explosives Notified Body in the United Kingdom.
The recast directive retains the same exclusions from the Tracking and traceability requirements set out in Directive 2008/43/EC amended by 2012/4/EU). However, for the explosives excluded from that system, the recast does require manufacturers to ensure that the explosives they have placed on the market bear a type, batch or serial number or other element allowing their identification (or where the small size, shape or design of the explosive does not allow it, that the required information is provided on its packaging or in a document accompanying the explosive). They must also indicate on the explosive their name, registered trade name or registered trade mark and the postal address at which they can be contacted or, where that is not possible, on its packaging or in a document accompanying the explosive. The address shall indicate a single point at which the manufacturer can be contacted. The contact details shall be in a language easily understood by end-users and market surveillance authorities. Manufacturers, their authorised representatives, and importers must also keep a copy of the EU declaration of conformity and the technical documentation for 10 years after the explosive has been placed on the market.
For the purposes of Civil explosives Directive, it is when an importer or distributor modifies the explosive already placed on the market in such a way that compliance with the Directive may be affected.
The civil explosives directive states that any importer or distributor who places the explosive on the market under their own name, trade mark, or modifies an explosive already on the market, shall be considered a manufacturer and shall be subject to the manufacturer’s obligations.
All civil explosives and pyrotechnic articles for civilian use that are placed on the market within the European Union must carry a CE mark unless they are pyrotechnic articles subject to the transitional provisions of the pyrotechnics directive.
The section on placing on the market provides more information.
‘Classification’ identifies the hazard posed by explosive substances and articles and verifies their safety, as packaged, for transportation. It involves assessing an explosive to determine whether it is assigned to, or excluded from, Class 1 of the UN classification scheme for the transportation of dangerous goods in ADR.
It is a requirement under the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 (as amended) (CDG) that explosives must be classified before they can be carried in Great Britain. For more information see Classification for transport.
A ‘Contracting Party’ is a country that is a signatory to ADR.
There are three basic ways of proving the hazard presented by an explosive:
Yes you can but they must be conducted in accordance with the test protocols set out in the current edition of UN Manual of Tests and Criteria. The tests must be recorded using video and full supporting evidence must be provided with the application.
It is possible to classify groups or families of similar explosive substances or articles by conducting UN series 6 tests on the largest or most aggressive member of the family.
If the worst-case explosive is tested and the hazard identified then it is assumed that the other lesser members of the family will present the same hazard.
There are strict criteria which must be met:
Check if the explosive is already classified by looking on the List of Classified Explosives and Fireworks (LOCEF) or ask your supplier to provide a valid CAD from either HSE or a Contracting Party to ADR.
It is difficult to give a precise timescale, but HSE aims to agree classifications within 20 working days of receipt of all necessary information.
The costs for work done on a classification are charged at an hourly rate. The amount of work required to process a classification depends on several factors:
Christmas crackers are not considered to be explosives for the purposes of classification in GB.
Competent Authority Documents should state the registered company name, address and company number. Where there is a change in the registered company address HSE can issue a letter, listing the affected Competent Authority Documents and stating the details of the change in address. For any future changes in registered address please advise HSE and we will issue a change of address letter which can be appended to the relevant Competent Authority Documents.
Where a manufacturer changes HSE generally follows the approach taken by other Competent Authorities, and considers that the articles manufactured by that different manufacturer are new articles. You should therefore apply for a new competent authority document (CAD) for the articles produced by the new manufacturer. The section on how to apply provides further information.
You may also wish to review your arrangements for compliance with the Pyrotechnic Articles (Safety) Regulations 2010 in relation to these articles. The section on CE marking provides further information.
HSE requires 2 letters:
If it is not possible to obtain a letter from the company to whom the CAD was issued, HSE would accept a letter from the receivers confirming which products you have purchased the intellectual property rights for and confirming that they are content that the CADs which relate to these products can be transferred to you.
The Explosives Regulations 2014 requires that explosives and explosives contaminated items are discarded and disposed of, safely.
The Confederation of British Industry’s Explosives Industry Group (CBI-EIG)) has published guidance on disposal of explosives:
The Chief Fire Officers Association has published guidance on the disposal of damaged fireworks:
The subsector guidance on fireworks in retail premises, which supports the Explosives Regulation 2014 (ER 2014), contains general advice on this issue at paragraphs 142 & 143. HSE advises dutyholders to contact their suppliers where they have concerns regarding any products to obtain information which is specific to the particular product or to the circumstances. The supplier should be the person best able to advise on the hazards presented and the controls of resultant risks.
The various fees charged and hourly rates are given on the Fees web page.
Cheques should be made payable to Health and Safety Executive.
Yes. Details of how fees can be paid, including by debit or credit card are included on your invoice. For methods of payment for applications to other licensing authorities
you should contact your licensing authority.
You do not need an explosives licence for a firework display, nor do you normally need a licence to store fireworks at a display site for less than three days. You may need to contact your local authority to check if any other licences are needed.
More practical information on giving your own firework display is available in the section on organising firework displays.
Yes, but before explosives are carried in GB they need to be classified.
You need to have had your explosives classified by either HSE or by a Contracting Party to ADR. If the explosives have been classified by a non-Contracting Party to ADR, then HSE will need to recognise any classification that has been granted.
If the explosives have not been classified by a national Competent Authority, you should apply to HSE for those explosives to be classified.
No – see question Can I import any explosives into the GB?
You don’t need to do anything if the explosives have a valid classification. If the explosives aren’t classified you should either obtain classification from HSE or a classification from a Contracting Party to ADR.
A range of regulatory controls apply to explosives in addition to classification. You can find details on HSE’s Explosives web pages, but in summary, you should be aware of:
An explosives certificate is a document that identifies a person as being fit to acquire and/or keep relevant explosives and is issued by the police. There are two types of certificate:
If you wish to acquire and/or keep relevant explosives, you will need an explosives certificate. All explosives are relevant explosives apart from those listed under Schedule 2 of ER2014.
For more information see authorisations.
Anyone who wishes to acquire and or keep relevant explosives needs to contact their local police explosives liaison officer.
Not necessarily. It might be that the explosives are pyrotechnic articles under ER2014. Contact your licensing authority for advice.
A Recipient Competent Authority document is the approval for all transfers of explosives that a consignee is legally entitled to acquire or keep.
The consignee is the person/company that will be in physical possession of the explosives after the transfer has taken place.
You will need an RCA if you receive certain explosives, for example gunpowder. The section on the transfer of explosives provides further information.
For most of these explosives you will also need a police explosives certificate, which you should obtain from your local police explosives liaison officer. Explosive certificates issued after 1st June 2012 will incorporate the RCA.
If you have an Explosives Certificate issued after 1st June 2012 you should find that the RCA document is incorporated into it and you do not need to contact HSE.
If you have a pre 1st June 2012 Explosives Certificate , send us a copy (not the original) of both sides of your current Explosive Certificate, by post or email, to HSE’s Explosives Inspectorate.
You will need an explosives certificate for the acquisition and/or keeping of black powder. The licensing requirements for storing shooters powders (including black powder) are set out in regulation 7 of ER2014. The separation distance requirements for shooters powders (including black powder) are set out in regulation 27 of ER2014. Information on how to store shooters powders in a safe and suitable place with all due precaution for public safety can be found in Appendix 7 of L150.
Explosives must be transported in compliance with Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 (CDG). There are exemptions and derogations to these Regulations which can apply in certain circumstances and the Department for Transport’s Dangerous goods advice.
These are rules governing the different modes of national and international transport of dangerous goods. The Regulations applying to the common modes of transport of dangerous goods are:
The structure of the Regulations is consistent with, and based upon the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods, Model Regulations.
The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations require a journey where hazardous substances such as explosives are transported to be completed a timely manner. Therefore if a vehicle is reaches its destination it should be unloaded at that premises as soon as it arrives or shortly thereafter.
Regulation 2(6) of the Explosives Regulations 2014 states that if during the transport of any explosives, those explosives are not kept in any place for more than 24 hours, they are not considered to be in storage. (This provision only applies to stops during a journey and not where they have arrived at their destination, as then the explosives would be regarded as in storage and the relevant licence requirements would apply.)
If explosives are likely to be kept on a vehicle which is in one place for more than 24 hours then this is to be treated as storage and then either that vehicle should be parked on an area of a site licensed for the storage of explosives in vehicles or the explosives should be offloaded into appropriately licensed storage.
The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations require a journey where hazardous substances such as explosives are transported to be completed a timely manner. Therefore if a vehicle reaches its destination it should be unloaded at that premises as soon as it arrives or shortly thereafter.
In order to transport explosives they must first be classified by an European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) signatory country. If they have not been classified by an ADR signatory country, classification is required. This can be provided by HSE. The section on classification provides further information.
Where an explosive is already classified by an ADR signatory country no further action is required, provided it conforms to the conditions (including packaging) of the original Competent Authority Document (CAD). A copy of the original CAD should be kept by the importer or the manufacturer and should be available on demand.
If you wish to repackage the explosives, any current classification would no longer be correct and as such, a new classification would be required prior to transportation.
A qualified Dangerous Goods Safety Adviser
An industry body such as:
Confederation of British Industry’s Explosives Industry Group
British Pyrotechnists Association
British Fireworks Association
Institute of Explosives Engineers
Department for Transport
Occupational Safety and Health Consultants Register
The HSE website
Manufacturers or importers are required to mark most civil explosives with a unique identification code. Where it is required the unique identification code must be marked on (or in certain cases attached to) each individual item. Different marking requirements apply depending on the size of the explosive. This requirement applies to all civil use explosives, covered by Directive 93/15/EC , manufactured or imported after 5 April 2013. It does not apply to civil explosives manufactured for export to a country outside the European Economic Area (EEA).
If the abbreviated name is a commonly known and recognisable trade name, this would be acceptable. The abbreviation should not make it impossible to identify the manufacturer.
Where manufacturing sites are located outside the EU, the procedures of Article 3(5) of Commission Directive 2008/43/EC should be followed. However, in cases where the overseas manufacturer is also established in the EU, he could contact the national authority of the Member State in which he is established or of first import and obtain a single code for the manufacturing site to be used for all imports into the EU. The manufacturer established in the EU would assume responsibility for compliance with the Directive for all those imports, including in particular the obligations of undertakings in relation to record-keeping.
In all other cases where the manufacturing site is located outside the EU, the importer of the explosives will have to obtain a code in accordance with the second subparagraph of Article 3(5) of the Directive.
To further reduce the administrative burdens, and also in cases where the overseas manufacturer is not established in the EU, the imports need not physically go through the location of the importer or of the EU legal entity of the manufacturer, but any point of entry, provided that they are handled in line with the single authorisation for simplified procedures (SASP)/centralised customs clearance used throughout the EU under customs legislation, whereby the import paperwork is submitted in one Member State, but the products can be shipped directly to another Member State or States (with the customs authorities there not requiring additional paperwork).
The section on identification and traceability provides further information.
Where a distributor repackages the civil explosive they have a duty to ensure that the unique identification is marked or affixed to the item (Regulation 33(7)). However, where the manufacturers or importers code is no longer marked as a result of the repackaging, the EU working group which leads discussions in Europe on the requirements, in association with FEEM guidance agreed it would be practical for ‘distributors’ to also allocate unique identifications to the civil explosive. This isn’t specified in the Directive but was seen as a practical solution to ensure that the items were traceable as they moved through the supply chain.
A site identification code can be obtained from HSE. Details of ‘how to apply’ are available.
The section on identification and traceability provides further information.
If you have concerns regarding the sale and potential misuse of explosives products, you may wish to contact in the first instance: