Identification and Traceability of Explosives
- OG Status:
- Target audience
- This guidance is for Explosives Inspectors, Mines Inspectors, and Quarry Inspectors in HSE.
This operational guidance (OG) applies to all civil explosives and covers inspection and enforcement of the identification and traceability of explosives requirements contained within Regulations 33, 34 and 36 of the Explosives Regulations 2014 (ER2014) as amended. It also covers the allocation of site codes under ER2014 and under the Identification and Traceability of Explosives Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013 (ITOER NI 2013).
To ensure that Inspectors are aware of the priority topics for inspection associated with the identification and traceability of explosives requirements in ER2014
The regulations apply to all civil explosives other than those described below, The marking requirements do not apply to civil explosives manufactured or imported into Great Britain before 5 April 2013. The record keeping requirements do not apply to civil explosives manufactured or imported into Great Britain before 5 April 2013. Civil explosives are defined in ER2014 (as amended) as an explosive which has been or would be classified in accordance with the UN Recommendations as falling within Class 1, but it does not include:
- ammunition the acquisition of which is regulated or prohibited by virtue of the Firearms Act 1968 to 1997;
- any explosive which it is shown is intended for the lawful use by the armed forces or the police of any country;
- a pyrotechnic article.
Regulations 33, 34 and 36 of ER2014 set out a system for the identification and traceability of explosives intended for civil use. Similar legislation has been introduced across Europe to enable identification and traceability of explosives at every point in the supply chain. This followed security issues raised by the Madrid train bombings in 2004, which killed 191 people, and injured over 1800 others.
Exceptions to marking requirements
Manufacturers are not required to mark civil explosives that are manufactured for export to places outside the European Economic Area (EEA), providing that the civil explosives are marked in accordance with identification in accordance with the traceability requirements of the importing country. Importers are not required to mark civil explosives if they are already marked with a unique identification compliant with schedule 6 of ER2014. The following civil explosives are out of scope of the identification and traceability of explosives requirements within Regulations 33, 34 and 36 of ER2014:
- Fuses, including safety fuses
- cap-type primers
- Pyrotechnic articles, for example flares or fireworks
- Explosives transported and delivered unpackaged or in a mobile explosives manufacturing unit (MEMU) for their direct loading into a blast hole
- Explosives manufactured at the blasting sites, and that are loaded immediately after being produced (in situ production)
- Ammunition (the acquisition of which is regulated or prohibited by the Firearms Acts 1968 to 1997 or in Northern Ireland, by the Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order 2004
Regulations 33, 34 and 36 of ER2014 require:
- all civil explosives manufactured or imported into Great Britain after 5 April 2013 to be uniquely marked (see 'Marking Requirements'); and
- or records to be kept of civil explosives manufactured or imported into Great Britain on or after 5 April 2015 (see 'Record Keeping Requirements').
Where the duty holder is not able to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the Regulations, Inspectors should consider enforcement action in line with the Enforcement Management Model (EMM) and the HSE Enforcement Policy.
Transitional arrangements existed for the marking of articles within scope of the Regulations. However, as the requirement to mark articles have now been in place, for items manufactured or imported, since 5th April 2013, prohibition of supply of unmarked articles subject to the marking requirements should now be considered. Regulation 80 and schedule 12 of ER2014, as amended, also allows an Inspector to take possession of any explosive where an Inspector has reasonable cause to believe it will be unlawfully acquired, used or dealt with.
Inspectors should use the 'Compliance and administrative arrangements: Initial enforcement expectation' guidance, in the EMM, when considering appropriate enforcement.
European Directive 2008/43/ECintroduced marking and record keeping requirements for civil explosives across Europe and set in place a system for the identification and traceability of explosives at every point in the supply chain. In 2012, Directive 2008/43/ECwas amended by Directive 2012/4/EU. The amendments removed some items from scope, delayed the coming into force date, and provided more certainty in relation to the marking requirements for small explosives items.
Marking of explosives
Regulation 33 and Schedule 6 of ER2014 requires civil explosive items to be marked with a unique identification. These requirements apply to manufacturers and importers.
If distributors repackage an explosive, they will need to ensure that the explosive item has the unique identification affixed, and any associated label or passive inert electronic tag attached, in accordance with the relevant requirements of the Regulations.
Different marking requirements apply depending on the size of the explosive.
If the explosives are subject to further manufacturing, a new unique identification is not needed unless the original identification is no longer legible.
Applications for GB and NI site codes are issued by HSE and can be submitted to [email protected]
Unique identification requirements
Schedules 6 and 7 of ER2014 provide a graduated approach to marking the unique identification depending on the size of the explosive.
- All civil use explosives that are large enough must be marked with a unique identification, as follows:
- A human readable part detailing:
- Name of the manufacturer
- Alphanumeric code containing
- Two letters identifying the member state ( place of production or onto the market), eg AT = Austria
- Three digits identifying the manufacturing site (site codes available from HSE ([email protected])
- The unique product code and logistical information designed by the manufacture For example: SAMPLE AT 123 001002X
- An electronic readable identification barcode and/ or matrix code both which relates to the Alphanumeric code, eg
- If an explosive is too small to mark with the unique product code and logistical information designed by the manufacturer, it only needs to be marked with
- A human readable part detailing:
- Two letters identifying the member state, eg AT = Austria
- Three digits identifying the manufacturing site
- A human readable part detailing:
- An electronic readable identification barcode and/ or matrix code that relates to the alphanumeric code, eg
- If the explosive is too small, or where it is technically impossible due to their shape or design, to mark the information outlined in 2 (above), the unique identification should be fixed on the smallest packaging unit (SPU) this means the smallest packaging unit on which it is possible to affix the unique identification. The unique identification is the full identification referred to in 1, above. The SPU must be closed with a seal.
In the case of each plain detonator or booster which falls under 3 (above) must still be marked in a legible way, with two letters identifying the member state, eg AT = Austria, and three digits identifying the manufacturing site. The number of plain detonators or boosters must then be marked on the SPU along with the full identification referred to in 1, above.
Detonating cords which fall under 3 (above) must have the full unique identification on the reel or spool, and on any SPU.
Marking of specific explosives with the unique identification.
The extent of the unique identification will depend on the size of explosive (see 1-3 above).
For further information on the marking or affixing the unique identification to civil Explosives see Schedule 7 to ER2014 and the EU commission's Q&A on the implementation of the explosives in civil use directive
Regulation 36 of ER2014 requires records to be kept about civil explosives throughout the supply chain and life cycle. These requirements apply to manufacturers, importers, distributors, and anyone who acquires or keeps the explosives.
Records are not required to be kept for civil explosives that are:
- acquired or kept by private individuals other than in connection with their work and that are solely for their own personal use
- explosives transported and delivered without packaging or in a mobile explosives manufacturing unit (MEMU) for its direct unloading into the blast-hole
- fuses, including safety fuses
- cap-type primers,
The records should allow tracking and identification of an explosive at any time, and should be kept for 10 years after the date when the explosive was used, transferred to another person or destroyed, even if the manufacturers, importers, distributors, and anyone who acquires or keeps the explosives, have ceased trading.
If they do cease trading, they must notify the relevant enforcing authority and provide any records to them to keep for the remainder of the 10 years.
Up to date records must include:
- Type of explosive
- Unique identification
- Location of explosive whilst in the possession of the manufacturer, importer, distributor or other person acquiring or keeping the explosive.
- If and when the explosive has been subject to further manufacturing, used, transferred or destroyed whilst in the possession of the manufacturer, importer, distributor or other person acquiring or keeping the explosive
- Name and address of person the explosive is transferred to.
The records must be:
- quality controlled and tested at regular intervals for their effectiveness; and
- protected against accidental or malicious damage.
Where Inspectors encounter articles marked with a UK site code during an inspection they should make a note of the markings on up to three articles as a representative sample. This information will then be checked for accuracy against HSE's record of site codes issued.
Where Inspectors encounter articles marked with a non-UK site code during inspection they should make a note of the markings on up to three articles as a representative sample. This information should then be provided to CEMHD7s operational policy and strategy team to check for accuracy with the relevant authorities in the relevant member state.
The evidence of compliance, above, should be extended to include recording evidence of compliance with the record keeping requirements as they relate to the two explosive articles checked on site.
Proactive, prioritised system based interventions will be developed on the basis of information gathered.
Recording and reporting
Any explosives inspection activity and outcomes relating to the identification and traceability of explosives requirements in ER2014 should be recorded on COIN, under "Track and Trace" for both Explosives COMAH and non COMAH sites, and through the inspection summary or notes pages as relevant.
For any other Inspection activity on the identification and traceability of explosives requirements in ER2014 a new line should be added to a service order by clicking on the "Add a New Line" button at the bottom of the Service Order line summary.
When the window, below, appears click on lookup icon next to activity name field. Type in " Track" in description field and click on lookup button. When search results appear, click on row to populate activity name field. Insert required start and end dates and complete provider group and assigned to fields.
Health and safety
Inspectors should not open boxes of explosives in order to conduct checks on marking of explosives under ER2014. Instead, checking should be carried out on individual samples or observed during the manufacturing process or as part of the normal conduct of an inspection.
The guidance and documents listed below provide inspectors with additional information to that given in this OG: