Fireworks night on 5 November could indeed be a day to remember for companies if they do not follow new legal guidelines for company fireworks displays, according to Croner Consulting.
For the first time, companies organising or hosting firework displays must comply with the Fireworks Act 2003 and the Fireworks Regulations 2004. Failure to do so could result in risks to safety, unlimited fines, and/or a prison sentence.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, any company holding a non-domestic fireworks display, from a local pub to large hotel, or a corporate event, has a duty of care to both employees and anyone ‘affected by’ the event.
The Fireworks Act 2003, which was introduced last year and came in to force this year, has put a framework into place to enable the Government to address a range of firework issues where present legislation falls short.
Consequently the Act gave rise to the Fireworks Regulations 2004, which have introduced a number of limited prohibitions on the importation, sale, possession and use of fireworks.
Stephen Thomas, health and safety consultant at Croner, said non-domestic displays, whether a private corporate event, or one that is open to the public, present a risk to spectators, nearby residents, pets and wildlife.
“Businesses are responsible for identifying and minimising the risk and potential nuisance created by such displays,” he said. “Should an incident occur the new firework legislation means they could face up to two years imprisonment if referred to a Higher Court.”