AS autumn falls, the firework season begins. Fireworks are now used widely across many public, corporate and charity events throughout the season and well into the New Year.

If you or your organisation are holding a public or private event where fireworks will be used, it is important to remind those involved in some simple precautions to ensure the event is safe and injury free for everyone.

For any public event you should always carry out a full risk assessment prior to the event:

• Identify the hazards

• Consider who might be harmed and how

• Evaluate the risks and decide what precautions are required

• Write down your risk assessment and ensure everybody involved knows what they need to do.

Here are a few things to consider when undertaking your risk assessment. Further information can be found on the HSE website, under HSG124

• you must use fireworks that fall into categories, 1, 2 and 3; Category 4 fireworks may only be used by professionals

• Ensure you obtain fireworks from a reputable supplier

• Is the area of the site suitable and large enough for your display, with space for the fireworks to land well away from spectators

• Are there any overhead power lines or other obstructions?

• Consider the weather and effect of smoke (nearby roads) what would happen if the wind changed

• The police may be interested in crowd control, public order, emergency access and local traffic management and parking

• The fire services will be interested in the access to the site, your fire-fighting arrangements and nearby buildings etc that may be affected by fire

• Think about what you would do if things go wrong, who is responsible for calling the emergency services

• Do you have the appropriate insurances in place?

• First aid arrangements?

• Always prohibit spectators from bringing their own fireworks, including sparklers.

With some simple preparation and planning it will ensure that everyone enjoys the event.

Wendy Emery is Risk Manager at Ford Risk Management in York. For further information visit