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Bang! New Health & Safety Regulations for Explosives in Scotland, England & Wales

New health and safety regulations regarding explosives are set to come into force next month – October 2014.

The Explosives Regulations 2014 (ER 2014) and the Acetylene Safety (England and Wales and Scotland) Regulations 2014 (ASR 2014) come as a result of the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) reviewing the existing health and safety explosive legislation.

The HSE review found that the existing law needed clarification and modernisation - the complicated legal duties owed to various different bodies, and the differing definitions at UK and International law, together produced a very complex picture.  The HSE therefore concluded that a broader, more coherent framework would be far more effective.  

It is hoped that the new framework will reduce the regulatory burden on businesses and regulators by simplifying the requirements.  

Certain pieces of legislation will be repealed as a result of the ER 2014, such as the Fireworks Act 1951 and the Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005.  In total, the new ER 2015 will consolidate one Act, ten pieces of secondary legislation and fifteen exemption certificates.  

The new ER 2014 primarily focuses on authorisation, safety, security and placing on the market.  The changes include:

  • Merging registrations into the licensing system - this will consolidate the functions of registration and licensing into a single system;
  • Giving local authorities the power to issue licences up to five years, bringing them in line with HSE and Policy issued licenses;  
  • The exceptions regarding the storage of higher hazard and desensitised explosives has been updated;
  • Updated tables of separation distances; and
  • The list of explosives that can be acquired and kept without a police certificate has been revised.

There will also be guidance documents that will be released by the HSE to support the understanding of the new legislation - the L150 Safety provisions and the L151 Security provision.  The documents should be read with the Approved Code of Practice (ACOP), which provides overarching guidance on how the Regulations should be met.  

The safety and security documents will be beneficial to any duty-holder, but particularly to employers and other people manufacturing or storing larger quantifies of explosives, which could present higher hazards.  The documents detail what is described as ‘statements of success’, which are the fundamental safety and security objectives that all duty holders should achieve.

The ASR 2014, similarly to the ER 2014, simplifies and modernises the previously complex legislative approach. The main changes brought about by the ASR 2014 are:

  • The requirement to seek HSE approval for certain acetylene equipment is no longer necessary, if current recognised national and international standards are met; and
  • Licences are required for anyone who wishes to manufacture, compress or fill a cylinder with acetylene gas greater than 0.62 bar (g).

The new regulations will come into force on 1 October 2014.

Injured in an Explosion at Work?

If you have been injured in an explosion somewhere in Scotland, Lawford Kidd’s personal injury lawyers can advise you regarding compensation - which you may be due. To receive specialist personal injury claims advice, contact us today on 0131 516 9180. Alternatively, please complete our online enquiry form.

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