Placing civil explosives on the GB market


This guidance is about placing manufactured products on the market in Great Britain (GB). Great Britain is England, Wales and Scotland.

There is different guidance on GOV.UK if you are placing manufactured products on the:

Following the UK’s departure from the EU, some rules and procedures changed from 1 January 2021.

The Explosives Regulations 2014 (as amended) state that economic operators must not place, or make available, civil explosives on the market unless they conform with certain requirements, including:

  • meeting the essential safety requirements
  • conformity attestation against the relevant tests
  • correct application of the UKCA mark

The economic operator may be the manufacturer, authorised representative, importer or distributor.

A civil explosive is 'placed on the market' when there is a written or verbal agreement to transfer ownership or possession or other rights in the product. This does not require physical transfer of the product. You can usually use a document used in business transactions to prove it was placed on the market, including:

  • contracts of sale concerning goods which have already been manufactured and meet the legal requirements
  • invoices
  • documents concerning the shipping of goods for distribution

The relevant economic operator is responsible for demonstrating the date a product was officially placed on the market.

Civil explosives placed on the market before 1 January 2021

If you placed products on the GB or EU market (EU or an EEA state) before 11pm on 31 December 2020, you do not need to do anything new for these individual products.

These products can continue to circulate on either market until they reach their end user. Once they reach their end user, this provision no longer applies.

This means that, for example, if the product was originally placed on the GB market, the end user cannot sell the product on the EU market without ensuring the product conforms to current EU requirements.

GOV.UK has more information on conformity assessment.

The relevant economic operator is responsible for demonstrating that the product was placed on the market before 11pm on 31 December 2020.

The relevant economic operator may be the manufacturer, authorised representative, importer or distributor.

GOV.UK has more information on:

The UKCA mark

The UKCA mark can be used on civil explosive and other products placed on the market in Great Britain (GB) to demonstrate that they meet essential safety requirements.

HSE will introduce legislation that will extend recognition of the CE mark indefinitely.

Under current legislation you can:

  • continue to place compliant CE marked civil explosive products on the GB market until 31 December 2024
  • use your CE certificate (for products that have been conformity assessed by an EU-recognised Conformity Assessment Body) before 11pm on 31 December 2024, as a basis to declare that your existing product types are compliant with UKCA requirements until your CE certificate expires or by 31 December 2027, whichever is sooner 

Explosives approved bodies

The UK Explosives Approved Body is responsible for:

  • conformity assessing products for the UK market and awarding the UKCA mark - the conformity assessment procedures remain the same as those required for the CE marking
  • conformity assessing products for the Northern Ireland market and awarding the UKNI mark

GOV.UK has more guidance on conformity assessment and accreditation.

Designated standards for civil explosives

From 1 January 2021 all the existing harmonised standards for civil explosives that give a presumption of conformity to EU essential safety requirements, became GB designated standards.

GB designated standards (GOV.UK)

Businesses are able to use designated standards as a way of continuing to demonstrate conformity with the Explosives Regulations 2014 (as amended).

From 1 January 2021 the EU's Harmonised Standards remain the relevant standards for placing civil explosives on the Northern Ireland market where EU rules continue to apply.

EU's Harmonised Standards ( website)

Manufacturers, importers and distributors

Manufacturers' legal obligations remain unchanged from 1 January 2021.

You need to check whether you or your supplier became an importer after 1 January 2021. You will have become an importer if you're the one bringing goods into the UK from outside the UK and placing them on the market in GB.

For further guidance on importer duties go to UKCA marking: roles and responsibilities (on GOV.UK)

Authorised representatives

From 1 January 2021 if you use an authorised representative or responsible person, they must be based in the UK for explosives being placed on the GB market.

Manufacturers can instruct an authorised representative to:

  • keep declarations of conformity and technical documentation
  • engage with the market surveillance authority and co-operate with the competent authority on any action taken to eliminate risks posed by civil explosives covered in their mandate

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Updated 2024-01-10