safety first sign

On 1st October, two new sets of regulations come into force on working safely with explosives and compressed acetylene gas.  The revised regulations will help reduce the regulatory burden on business and regulators by clarifying and simplifying requirements.

The Explosives Regulations 2014 provides guidance to anyone who has duties under the safety provisions of the regulations particularly employers, private individuals and other people manufacturing explosives, storing larger quantities of explosives or storing explosives that present higher hazards.

The existing Approved Code of Practice to the Manufacture and Storage of Explosives Regulations 2005 will be withdrawn.

The regulations will be supported by a suite of overarching and subsector guidance, consisting of two documents, L150 (focusing on safety provisions) and L151 (covering security provisions), and are aimed at the more complex and larger operations, contain overarching technical guidance and background information that will help duty holders to comply with the safety and security provisions in the regulations.

The changes that have been made to the regulations 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 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  • The repeal of the Fireworks Act 1951, as its remaining provisions have been superseded by the Pyrotechnic (Safety) Regulations 2010


Acetylene Safety (England and Wales and Scotland) Regulations 2014 (ASR 2014)

These revised regulations simplify and where appropriate, modernise legislative arrangements for compressed acetylene gas whilst maintaining pre-existing safety standards.

The main changes include:

  • there will no longer be a requirement to seek HSE approval for certain acetylene equipment (including flashback arrestors and the composition of acetylene cylinders) so long as they comply with current recognised (national/international) standards.
  • anyone wishing to manufacture, compress or fill a cylinder with acetylene gas greater than 0.62 bar (g) is required to hold a licence, replacing the current complex process for gaining approval.

Further details on these new Regulations and supporting guidance is available from the HSE website