How do I apply for classification?

Before you apply for classification, make sure you have the relevant documents.

Applications for classification of non-military explosives should be made to HSE by email to [email protected], or by post, using the appropriate form. We now accept applications with electronic signatures.


Separate forms are available for:

The forms should be fully completed and the declaration signed.

Where applications have a checklist attached, you should complete the checklist and send it and the supporting evidence with your application.

Unsigned or incomplete applications, whether hard copy or electronic, will not be processed.

The forms include specific notes to help the applicant. Applicants should make sure that they use the latest version of the form on the website, as obsolete forms will not be processed.

For UN default fireworks classification, the application form is available as a spreadsheet. This format significantly speeds up the process and minimises costs. The spreadsheet should include all compositional information on your fireworks as well as all drawings (on CD).

Supporting evidence

HSE has issued the following guidance to help applicants understand what to include when submitting an application for a Competent Authority Document (CAD). It also addresses how HSE will deal with contentious items and the expected turnaround time to process an application following receipt of all requested information.


Packages used for explosives must comply with the provisions for packaging at Part 4 of ADR.

Any packaging should contain and protect the contents during transport and handling. It should be robust and leak-proof, and compatible with the explosives it contains.

Before HSE issues a CAD for classification approvals for explosives manufactured in Great Britain, it requires documentary evidence from the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) confirming that the packaging requirements of ADR have been met.

The schedule to the CAD will include, as a minimum, the allocated UN packaging performance mark along with details concerning the shipping name, description of the pack, the UN number and hazard classification code, and maximum net explosive mass (NEM) of the package as offered for transport.

Competent Authority Document

The classification will be issued to the applicant on a Competent Authority Document (CAD) when all technical information required for processing the application has been received and agreed. The CAD will detail the classification assigned and may include appropriate conditions. The explosives will also be added by name and part number to the LOCEF database on the Explosives Web Community.

HSE's powers on classification relate to explosives which are to be carried in Great Britain.

A CAD is usually issued without an imposed time limit, unless:

  • it relates to fireworks, which are given a 10 year validation period; or
  • in the absence of full UN test results, a technical case is presented with an application to justify carriage of the explosives for a time limited period to allow, for example, testing, classification or research and development purposes.

Surveillance checks

HSE may from time to time carry out surveillance checks, which include taking samples to make sure that the terms of the classification, as set out in the CAD, have been complied with. This may be at the supplier's own premises or at any point along the distribution chain.

HSE may also pass information contained in the CAD to other relevant authorities, for example, local authority trading standards officers, to help in their regulatory duties.

Any CDG/ADR non-compliances found as a result of surveillance checks may require enforcement action to remedy the situation, with the costs of remedial action recovered under the HSE's Fee For Intervention Scheme (FFI).

How much does classification cost?

The costs of all work carried out by the HSE in connection with the classification of explosives and fireworks is now recovered under the provisions of Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 (as amended) (CDG).

This follows the revocation of the Classification and Labelling of Explosives Regulations 1983 (CLER) and the associated cost recovery of fees under the Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2010.

The current fee payable for work undertaken to process an application for classification is £70 per hour worked. No VAT is payable on this fee.

Explosives are not classified until the CAD has been issued. The explosives therefore cannot be legally carried until then. The CAD will not be issued until the fee has been paid.

A fee is also payable for the work done on applications which are terminated before completion.

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Updated 2024-06-12