H & S Guidance – Fireworks

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Firework displays should be enjoyable occasions. If organisers take the necessary precautions, they should also be safe occasions. The following advice relates to firework events put on by organisations assigned to local authorities for health and safety enforcement, including public houses and other licensed premises. The advice covers those firework displays where the organisers set off the fireworks themselves and have no specialist knowledge.

The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 places responsibilities on organisers of public displays to ensure the safety both of employees and members of the public.


  • Plan well ahead – ensure the site is suitable, consider desirability of a co-ordinating team (to share the tasks that might need to be carried out) with one person in overall control.
  • Use only appropriate fireworks (It is recommended that only Category 1 – 3 fireworks are used).
  • Obtain fireworks from a reputable supplier.
  • Ensure that the display site and organisation meet recommended safety criteria. i.e.
  • Suitable site access; size; absence of associated hazards; layout of spectator/safety/firing/fall-out and bonfire areas.
  • Staff There should be sufficient people with allocated duties such as organising/supervising the bonfire, marshalling the public and delivering first aid. Staff letting off fireworks should be kept to a minimum, instructed regarding all types of fireworks, attend a practice session and be provided with protective clothing.
  • Bonfires Safe location and distance; safe construction and size; no dangerous contents; built at the last minute; be supervised until extinguished.
  • Firework Storage and Use Fireworks to be kept in their packaging and stored in a secure, cool, dry place away from sources of ignition or highly flammable substances.
  • Post-event – Collect empty firework cases (using gloves and tongs); ‘duds’ to be left for 30 minutes and then placed in a container of water.


Sources of further advice and help include the County Fire and Rescue Service and your local Council.


  • Do you (intend to) hold firework displays at your premises?
  • Do you plan well ahead for the display, using a co-ordinating team under a nominated person in overall control?
  • Do you use only Category 1- 3 fireworks?
  • Do you obtain your fireworks from a reputable supplier?
  • Do you ensure that the display site and organisation meet recommended safety criteria?
  • Do you notify the Fire Brigade and the local Council of your event and seek their advice in the planning stage?


Booklet HS(G)124:Giving your own firework display – how to run and fire it safely. ISBN 0-7176-0836-0