Firework Safety Guide

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Fireworks can be great fun for families, not just around November 5th (Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night), but also Diwali, New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year. Injury figures support the advice that the safest place to enjoy fireworks is at a large public display – far fewer people are injured here than at smaller family or private parties.

But if you’ll be having a firework party at home, you can make the occasion fun and safe for everyone by following the Firework Code, as well as some sparkler and bonfire safety tips.

  • Fireworks must only be handled and lit by responsible adults;
  • Only buy fireworks marked BS 7114;
  • Stand well back;
  • Never put fireworks in your pocket or throw them;
  • Always supervise children around fireworks;
  • Keep pets indoors.

Animals can be terrified by fireworks. Warn your neighbours and any local farmers, stables and kennels etc in advance so they can keep pets indoors and take other necessary precautions.

  • Don’t let off fireworks after 11pm;
  • Alcohol and fire don’t mix – nor do alcohol and fireworks;
  • Keep fireworks in a closed box well away from bonfires or any other sources of heat or fire;
  • Follow the instructions on each firework. Different fireworks can present different hazards and so the instructions vary;
  • Use a torch if you read the instructions in the dark – do not use a naked flame;
  • Let fireworks off one at a time;
  • Do not throw fireworks – it is highly dangerous;
  • Light them at arm’s length, using a taper;
  • When you are watching fireworks, stand well back;
  • Never go near a firework that has been lit. Even if it hasn’t gone off, it could still explode;
  • Hold sparklers one at a time in gloved hands at arm’s length. When the sparkler goes out, it is still very hot so put it end down in a bucket of water;
  • Never leave matches or lighters lying around.

Sparklers are often viewed as being harmless, but they burn at fierce temperatures, equivalent to a welding torch. Follow these top tips for sparkler safety:

  • It is recommended that sparklers are not given to under-5s;
  • Make sure everyone handling sparklers wears gloves;
  • Hold sparklers at arm’s length while being lit and light them one at a time;
  • Don’t wave sparklers about close to other people;
  • Never hold a baby in your arms while you are holding a sparkler;
  • When the sparkler has finished put it in a bucket of cold water.

The Avensure Health & Safety team are happy to talk you through the health and safety procedures businesses need to have in place and how to start the process, so please contact us if you want to discuss your health and safety needs in more detail.

Please quote your Client Account Number on all correspondence and telephone calls. 24-hour client advice line: 0800 151 2935

And remember, remember enjoy bonfire night safely and responsibly.


Client and contractor failed to protect workers

While workers of the contractor company were refurbishing the bar area of a hotel in September and October 2018, they disturbed asbestos.

The HSE’s investigation found that both companies (client and the contractor company they had hired) had failed to ensure an appropriate assessment was carried out to check for the presence of asbestos in the areas of the hotel where refurbishment work was taking place.

The contractor pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 5 of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 and was fined £20,000 with £1,084.59 costs.

The client pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 etc and was fined £16,000 with £1,246.90 costs.

After the hearing, the HSE inspector said: “Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fibre which was widely used in both building and engineering materials for its strength, heat and chemical resistance.  There are several different types of asbestos however they all share similar properties. When asbestos is disturbed, fibres are released into the air where they can be inhaled and may penetrate the lungs. This can cause serious diseases including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis. These diseases do not have an immediate effect, they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, they are often fatal.

“Asbestos related disease is responsible for the premature deaths of approximately 5000 people annually. Whilst the supply and manufacture of asbestos has been prohibited in the UK for approximately 20 years it can still be present in any building or industrial process plant built or refurbished before the year 2000.

“In this case both the client and contractor failed to protect workers from the risks to their health by failing to prevent their exposure to asbestos.”