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A guide to the handling and storage of airbags and seat belt pretensioners at garages and motor vehicle repair workshops

This leaflet gives general information on how to handle and store airbags and seat belt pretensioners. It is aimed at garages and workshops which only handle and store limited numbers, ie up to three or four, at any one time.

More and more vehicles are being fitted with a range of airbags and seat belt pretensioners. There is therefore an increasing likelihood that you will come across these devices at work.

Even though these devices are designed to save lives, there is the possibility of:

If they are not handled correctly. While the likelihood of an accident involving an airbag or seat belt pretensioner is low, a few simple precautions can be taken to reduce the risks further.

steering wheel showing airbag steering wheel showing airbag

What to do

Find out from your supplier the UN hazard classification of the airbags and seatbelt pretensioners that you may handle.

If any are classed as UN Hazard Class 1 (the explosives class) and you want to keep them on the premises, you will need to register for a Mode B Registered Premises with your local authority under the Explosives Act 1875. The department dealing with registration varies from region to region, but it is usually the:

We recommend that you register even if you don't plan to keep these devices, as delays in fitting them to the vehicle may mean they need to be kept on the premises, eg overnight.

For airbags or seat belt pretensioners which are classed as UN Hazard Class 2 or UN Hazard Class 9, we recommend that you keep them under similar conditions to those required for Mode B registration.


Storing airbags and seat belt pretensioners

You can buy cabinets which meet the requirements for Mode B registration. In general terms, these requirements are for a substantial container which:

You should keep the container away from:

Also make sure the container is:


graphic of man working at a bench on an airbag

Handling airbags and seat belt pretensioners

Comprehensive guidance for those handling, storing or transporting larger numbers of these devices is provided in HSE publications

The handling, storage and transport of airbags and seat belt pretensioners HSG184 HSE Books 1998 ISBN 0 7176 1598 7


HSE priced and free publications are available by mail order from:

HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk CO10 6FS

Tel: 01787 881165 Fax: 01787 313995.

HSE priced publications are also available from good booksellers.

Further advice can be obtained from HSE offices (see under Health and Safety Executive in the telephone directory). For other enquiries write to HSE's Information Centre, Broad Lane, Sheffield S3 7HQ.

This leaflet contains notes on good practice which are not compulsory but which you may find helpful in considering what you need to do.

This publication may be freely reproduced, except for advertising, endorsement or commercial purposes. The information is current at 8/98. Please acknowledge the source as HSE.

INDG280 10/98 C400

Printed and published by the Health and Safety Executive

HSE priced products are also available through good booksellers.

Drivers in front of car with seat belts and airbags being deployed

This leaflet is aimed at people working in garages and motor vehicle repair. It provides general information on the handling and storage of airbags and seat belt pretensioners in garages and workshops.


Further help:

Further advice can be obtained from HSE offices (see under Health and Safety Executive in the telephone directory). For other enquiries write to HSE's Information Centre, Broad Lane, Sheffield S3 7HQ.

2011-07-20