Explosives – new regulations come into force

The new Explosives Regulations 2014 (ER 2014) came into force on 1 October 2014.

HSE has worked with stakeholders since 2010 to review existing health and safety related explosives legislation. One of the key aims of that review was to consolidate, modernise, and, where practicable, simplify the legislative arrangements.

ER 2014 consolidates and therefore revokes a number of existing explosives regulations. It brings together the requirements of health and safety related explosives legislation into a framework based around common topics such as authorisation, safety, security and placing on the market. As a result of the consolidation the Approved Code of Practice to the Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 (L139) has been withdrawn. Guidance relating to the security of explosives (HSE Circular 1/2005), and guidance on the placing of civil use explosives on the market (L66) have also been withdrawn.

The main changes to the regulatory framework include:

  • merging registrations into the licensing system
  • allowing local authorities to issue licences up to 5 years, aligning them with equivalent HSE/police-issued licences
  • extending licensing to address storage of ammonium nitrate blasting intermediate (ANBI)
  • exceptions for keeping higher hazard and desensitised explosives without a licence have been updated
  • tables of separation distances have been restructured to better allow for sites with more than one store; the tables have also been revised to cover quantities of explosives greater than 2000kg
  • a revised list of explosives that can be acquired or acquired and kept without an explosives certificate from the police
  • the repeal of the Fireworks Act 1951, as its remaining provisions have been superseded by the Pyrotechnic (Safety) Regulations 2010

The regulations are supported by a suite of overarching and subsector guidance.

The overarching guidance consists of two documents:

  • L150 focuses on safety provisions
  • L151 covers security provisions

These top-level documents are principally aimed at more complex and larger operations but they contain overarching technical guidance and background information that will help all dutyholders to comply with the safety and security provisions in the regulations. They are structured around the fundamental objectives, described as ‘statements of success’, that all duty holders in the industry should achieve in a manner that is proportionate to their business and also identify detailed specialist and topic based guidance.

The subsector guidance, which will generally follow the same structure as L150, is due to be published soon. HSE will not remove any guidance until such time as a replacement is available. The level of guidance to be used and how to use it will depend on the type of dutyholder, the types of explosive, and the subsector that the dutyholder is operating in. Further information about the guidance structure is available.

Not all the regulations would be expected to apply to all of the activities of all subsectors. This is because different subsectors undertake different activities and work with different types of explosives. Information on what regulations would be expected to apply to different subsectors is due to be published soon.

Article source: http://www.hse.gov.uk/explosives/new-regulations.htm