Safety first - Norwich Union advises retailers on the safe storage of fireworks

Article date: 10 October 2007

As Bonfire Night approaches, Norwich Union is advising retailers to take appropriate measures when storing fireworks, in order to prevent fire or explosion.

Property risk manager, Allister Smith, says: "Even if fireworks are being stored on the premises for what may seem a relatively short period of time, it is imperative that they are stored properly, under the Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 (MSER) and licensed by the local authority under the Firework Regulations 2004.

"Under the MSER, the amount of fireworks allowed to be stored on a shop floor is determined by the size of the sales area to which the public has access. This can range from 12.5kg of fireworks for an area up to 20 square metres, to 75kg on premises with more than 500 square metres of sales area.

"Fireworks on the shop floor must be kept in a designated area well away from sources of ignition and stored in a suitable display case, storage cupboard or cabinet.  This must be waterproof, fully sealed so explosives do not come into contact with incompatible substances, kept clean with steps taken to prevent grit entering unpackaged explosives and contain no other goods other than leaflets and safety literature. Any lights or electrical fittings within the cabinets or cases should also be disconnected.

"To prevent and limit the extent of fire or explosion and protect people should a fire or explosion occur, a risk assessment should be carried out and documented, if there are five or more employees."

Smith also advises that suitable precautions are taken to exclude possible sources of ignition such as matches, smoking materials, portable heaters, grit, rust and other contaminants. He says: "In addition, fireworks should be kept in closed transport packaging and only opened when needed.

"On premises where there is also domestic or sleeping accommodation, suitable steps must be taken to protect residents in the event of a fire.

"There must be a fire detection system in the shop with access and exit routes in the domestic part of the building fire-separated from those used for the storage of fireworks. The store must also be closed off and secured from the domestic part of the property in order to prevent unauthorised access and to help prevent accidental sources of ignition.

"When storing fireworks externally, containers should be located away from public access areas where cars cannot park within three meters. Retailers must also take precautions against arson and malicious attack and smoking should not be allowed nearby."

Norwich Union Risk Services has produced a Hardfacts document which can be downloaded at featuring advice on fire safety and property protection in connection with the retail storage of fireworks.


For further information, please contact:
Jo Brearley at Staniforth or 0161 919 8014/07973 143215 or Sally Leeman at Norwich Union on 01603 684225/ 07800 699670.

Notes to editors:

Norwich Union is the UK's largest general insurer with a market share of around 15%, with a focus on insurance for individuals and small businesses.

It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest financial adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.

Norwich Union's news releases and a selection of images are available from Aviva's internet press centre at

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