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Bonfire Night: Health and Safety

The 5th of November, Bonfire Night or Guy Fawkes’ night marks the day in 1605 when Guy Fawkes tried and failed to blow up the Houses of Parliament in the infamous gunpowder plot.

We celebrate the event today by lighting bonfires and watching fireworks in towns and villages across the UK.

Many of us will either be attending fire work displays, holding firework displays  or having some fireworks at home in our gardens over the next few days.

Fireworks parties can be brilliant fun if safety rules are followed. It’s important to remember that fireworks are explosives and, just like that gun powder, can cause severe injury if not handled properly. What is needed is good planning and a level head on the night!

Private or Public Display?

The last time firework injury figures were collected for Britain, 990 people went to hospital with a firework-related injury in the four weeks around Bonfire Night.

Going to a well-organised public display is the best option by far. Most firework related injuries happen at private events, rather than at organised displays.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) advises people thinking about holding a private party to plan it carefully first. This includes making sure there is enough space in your garden for the fireworks and the spectators.

One key message is never to return to a firework once it’s been lit as it could go off in your face.

The Firework Code

This to be followed when using fireworks. People should watch and enjoy fireworks from a safe distance and follow safety rules for using sparklers. Only adults should light fireworks.

·         Plan your firework display to make it safe and enjoyable

·         Keep fireworks in a closed box and use them one at a time

·         Read the instructions on each firework using a torch – and follow the instructions

·         Light the firework at arm’s length with a taper and stand well back

·         Keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks

·         Never return to a firework once it’s been lit

·         Don’t put fireworks in pockets and never throw them

·         Direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators

·         Never use paraffin or petrol on a bonfire

·         Make sure the fire is out and surroundings are made safe before leaving

·         Keep pets indoors


If you have concerns about managing the health and safety of your employees during a work related firework display, please do not hesitate to contact our health and safety consultant Sarah Dykes on 07795251594 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

Sarah Dykes
Sarah Dykes

Sarah is a highly experienced Health and Safety Specialist with twenty four years’ experience across a broad range of industry sectors, including: Engineering Woodworking Manufacturing Haulage Leisure and Offices to name a few. Sarah has the know-how and experience to interpret complex safety legislation in practical terms. Sarah helps busy managers in organisations by taking the hard work out of complying with complex Health & Safety legislation by providing realistic advice. Sarah is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (IOCSH). Sarah also gives advice on how to reduce the likelihood and success of employer’s liability claims through her experience of working at 2 international insurance companies. This combined with her Health and Safety knowledge and experience make her the ideal person to help you with your Health and Safety requirements.

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