How can I send or transport smoke and pyrotechnics around the UK and Europe?
Transporting smoke and pyrotechnics around the UK and Europe for delivery to customers or moving from your stores to and event is easy to do legally, so long as a few simple rules are followed.
These rules only apply if you are going on the public roads, if your journey does not leave private land then as long as you have permission of the landowner, the rules do not apply. However, it would be good to follow some of the safety points described in this guide.
Smoke and pyrotechnics are classed along with many other chemicals and articles as Dangerous Goods. When it comes to transporting dangerous goods there is a heap of regulations designed to protect them during transport, to prevent spillage/accidents and more importantly to protect and people transporting the dangerous goods and the general public. Because of this, there are restrictions on how these can be safely and legally moved around the UK and Europe by road.
This guide and the information in It, is just that, a guide. We are providing this information on shipping smoke and pyrotechnics by road so that you have all the necessary information to send or move smoke and pyrotechnics around mainland UK and Europe legally. This guide is our interpretation of the regulations, for the complete information please read the full regulations given in the next section.
The shipping / carrying or transporting Dangerous Goods including smokes and in UK is covered by the “Carriage of Dangerous Goods: Approved Derogations and Transitional Provisions United Kingdom April 2012”regulations.
The shipping / carrying or transporting Dangerous Goods within mainland Europe is covered by the “European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road” (ADR) regulations.
Dangerous Goods General Information
Dangerous Goods come in many forms, there are obvious ones like radioactive materials, ammunition, corrosive acids, flammable gasses and explosives, but also not so obvious ones like batteries, CO2 bulbs, aerosols, and onion essence.
Every type of Dangerous Goods belongs to a class or group, there are 9 classes in total each represented by a coloured diamond which you may have noticed on vehicles and packages, these warn of the nature of the Dangerous goods contents within the vehicle / package.
Smoke and Pyrotechnics fall within the explosives category of Dangerous Goods. If a product is a smoke or pyrotechnic device, it is considered an explosive regardless of the type of pyrotechnic it is or the effect it produces e.g. smoke, fireball, flame, sparks, small bang or crater forming bangs.
Explosives are in Class 1 which is represented by an orange diamond
Classification of Explosives
As you may guess, explosives come in many different types from high explosives, missiles, ammunition, fireworks, pyrotechnics, car airbags, hail rockets etc. all of which have different properties and will have different effects when they go off, accidentally or on purpose.
Each explosive that is manufactured, must be granted a classification by the HSE Explosives Inspectorate. Classification is a process by which the packaged explosive goes through a series of tests to determine how safe it is to transport. The combined results of the tests determine the Hazard Class of the explosive, those being:
Once the Hazard Type has been established from the tests (Enola Gaye/EG products are all Hazard Type 4), depending on the type of product e.g. Smoke, pyrotechnic, firework ammunition etc, the Article or material will be given a UN number (international identification number), a Proper Shipping Name (P.S.N), Hazard Class, and category and associated orange diamond.
Example – Wire Pull Smoke
UN Number = UN0507
Proper Shipping Name = SIGNALS, SMOKE
Hazard Class and Category = 1.4S
Hazard Diamond =
A full list of the UN numbers, P.S.N’s, Hazard Classes and Hazard Diamonds for Enola Gaye / EG smokes and pyrotechnics can be found here.
The results of the packaging tests to determine the Hazard Type are dependent on the several factors e.g. the number and type of products, how closely they are packed in a box and the type of packaging (cardboard box / wooden crate, metal box etc.). If any of these factors change then the hazard class and category could also change. For example, packing 10 fireworks in a cardboard box will have a different outcome if that box catches fire than if there were 100 of the same fireworks packed into a metal or wooden case.
Therefore, all explosives must always be packaged in the same way as when they were tested and according to the information on the classification certificate issued by the HSE Explosives section. The packaging specification will give information on the maximum size of outer carton, the maximum number of devices allowed in each inner box and outer carton, the maximum Net Explosive (NEC) weight allowed.
Because the classification of an explosive is dependent on the packaging, the packaging itself is also required to be tested and certified. Each type of packaging that can carry dangerous good is stamped with a UN packaging mark. For explosives, the packaging used e.g. cardboard box, must have the same UN packaging mark as that specified on the classification certificate issued by HSE, this ensures the packaging is the same as the packaging used in the classification tests.
Marking and Labelling Packages of Dangerous Goods
So that anyone handling or moving dangerous goods know the hazard(s) they are dealing with, the package(s) must be marked and labelled with the following information:
- UN Number – Internationally recognised number describing the type of Dangerous Goods
- Proper Shipping Name (P.S.N) – Standardised name for the type of Dangerous Goods
- Gross Weight – Total weight of package
- Net Content – Actual weight of the dangerous goods without packaging.
- Hazard Diamond – The applicable hazard diamond which identifies the dangerous goods.
- Consignee – Name and address of the person receiving the Dangerous Goods.
- Consignor – Name and address of the person sending the Dangerous Goods.
- Handling Labels – specific labels giving handling instructions e.g. this way up, keep dry, keep out of sun etc.
For Explosives Only
Net Explosive Content (NEC) – This is the total weight of the explosive material contained within all the products in the package.
Packaging EG Pyrotechnics
EG Pyrotechnics must always be packaged within an inner box and the inner box(es) packed into an outer carton. The outer carton must have the following packaging mark directly printed on it.
The packaging details for all EG products can be found in the summary table here.
Always pack Enola Gaye / EG pyrotechnics in an inner box and then in an outer carton.
Only products with the same UN number can go in the same outer carton.
For Enola Gaye / EG products always use outer cartons with the UN packaging mark 4G/Y30/S/**/CN/4300 200
Preparation, Marking and Labelling Outer Cartons
The diagram below shows the information that needs to be marked on all packages of smokes and pyrotechnics being transported by road in the UK. This information will vary depending on the actual product(s) and the quantity. Two examples are shown below using two different styles, but in each case all the necessary information is there.
UK marking and Labelling
How, What and how much can be transported?
Depending on the quantity and type of smoke and pyrotechnics that needs to be moved, you can drive the products yourself, the customer can collect, or you can send by an approved courier. However, you must not send smoke and pyrotechnics through the post or transport them on a boat or an aircraft.
Regardless of anything else written here, the Gross Weight of the vehicle (combined weight of vehicle and cargo) must never exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight specified for the type of vehicle being used.
This guide focusses on transporting Hazard Type 4 smoke and pyrotechnics with hazard categories 1.4G and 1.4S.
Type of Dangerous Goods
Do not carry smokes and pyrotechnics with other dangerous goods e.g. gas, fuel, aerosols unless
the smoke and pyrotechnics or other explosives you are transporting have all been classified as hazard category 1.4S.
The quantities of each hazard category that can be carried in the UK and on mainland Europe are different and shown in the table below. If transporting only in the UK, then use the column in the table below entitled “UK Only”; if shipping in UK and Europe then use the information in the column marked “Europe”
To inform others about the type of Dangerous Goods you are carrying you must carry documentation that details all the Dangerous Goods on the vehicle. The documentation required consists of two separate documents. The first is “Instructions in Writing” and the other is a “Dangerous Goods Note” (DGN).
Instructions in Writing (found here) is a simple set of general instructions that give information on what to do in the case of an emergency and picograms to help describe to others e.g. police, customs or fire brigade, the type of goods you are carrying.
DGN(s) (found here) detail exactly the type and quantity of Dangerous Goods contained within the vehicle and where they are going plus other important information. If the dangerous goods are going to be carried by boat or by plane the documentation required for these modes of transport is enough for road transportation. Therefore, only one set of DGN needs to be carried.
For road transportation the DGN (example in Annex 3) needs to include as a minimum the following information:
- Name and address of Consignor (sender)
- Name and Address of Consignee (receiver)
- For Each type of Dangerous Good:
- UN number preceded by the letters “UN”;
- Proper Shipping Name (P.S.N);
- Classification Code (1.4S / 1.4G)
- Number and description of packages e.g 1 Box (4G) or 1 Fibreboard box;
- Total Quantity of each UN number i.e. Gross Mass, NEC and/or volume;
- Total NEC for the combined Shipment
- Tunnel Code
The DGN(s) must accurately reflect what is being carried at that time. If there is more than one delivery (delivering to more than one venue), then a new DGN needs to be prepared for the Dangerous Goods remaining on the vehicle after each delivery.
For UK transportation only if the goods are entirely 1.4S or there is less than 50 Kg of 1.4G loaded on the vehicle, then a DGN is not required. However, Instructions in writing are still required to be carried in the vehicle.
Travelling through tunnels and Tunnel Codes
The hazard produced by Dangerous Goods trapped inside a tunnel could be enhanced, producing a far worse outcome than on a normal open road.
For this reason, Dangerous Goods and tunnels are given a “tunnel code” in the form of the letters A-E.
Tunnels Code A: No restrictions for Dangerous Goods
Tunnels Code B: No restrictions except for goods likely to cause a large explosion.
Tunnels Code C: No restrictions except for goods likely to cause a large explosion and goods with a risk of medium explosion or large toxic gas or liquid release.
Tunnel Code D: as for C, plus restrictions for goods with a risk of a large fire.
Tunnel Code E: all regulated DG are prohibited other than UN nos. 2919, 3291, 3331, 3359 and 3373
Therefore, you can only enter a tunnel if the Tunnel Code of tunnel is earlier in the alphabet than the tunnel code of the goods. To keep it simple, if your transporting smoke and pyrotechnics, don’t go through tunnels.
The pictures below show signs that could be displayed at the entrance to a tunnel or signs leading to a tunnel that indicate Dangerous Goods tunnel codes. The ones on the left shows a “C” tunnel code, its ok to enter with smoke and pyrotechnics. The ones on the right show an “E” tunnel code, Do Not Enter with smoke and pyrotechnics.
If a tunnel has no tunnel code then it is ok to go through with Enola Gaye / EG products.
Transporting smoke and pyrotechnics to and from UK to Ireland or mainland Europe
If you need to transport smoke and pyrotechnics to or from the UK to either Ireland or mainland Europe, then please contact the office for more details.
It is possible under certain circumstances to transport smoke and pyrotechnics by sea but there are additional precautions needed. The boxes have to be packed differently, the paperwork is different and the port authorities need to be informed.
If you just try to take these products onto a boat without the correct procedures then this could lead to a fine, prosecution or a really bad day at the hands of customs.
Preparation of the vehicle
Before loading the vehicle and beginning any transportation involving Dangerous goods, there are a few checks that need to be carried out to ensure safety.
General Checks such as Fuel, Oil, Water, Electrics (e.g. all lights are working) and tyres should be made (see vehicle check list). In addition, the load space should be swept out and any potential causes of ignition removed or covered. Internal lighting should be checked to ensure the lighting units are covered with no exposed wiring.
You must also ensure that the vehicle is equipped with the following equipment in the case of emergency.
High Visibility Jacket – One high visibility or reflective jacket/tabard for each driver / crew member.
Fire Extinguishers – 2Kg Dry Powder extinguisher which is easily accessible and protected from various weather conditions and any spray, salt etc that can occur when driving.
The extinguisher must be fitted with a seal to tell if it has been used or not and must be inspected and bear a mark of compliance plus have a date of inspection / use by date (MM/YY).
Must always carry an ‘in date’ extinguisher.
Portable Lighting Equipment (torch or standing Lamp) – Made of either plastic or rubber and must not have any metal surface liable to produce sparks i.e.
Made from ferrous (iron containing) metals. If it rusts, then it contains iron and can produce sparks. If the metal is protected by paint or a plastic / rubber case or coating thin this is ok.
Placarding (vehicle signs) – When you are carrying smoke and pyrotechnics in quantities less than those shown in Table 1, there is no need to put hazard placards on the vehicle. However, these maybe required by the port authority if your journey requires going by sea on either a passenger or cargo ferry. It is best to carry 1.4S and 1.4G placards just in case.
When driving in mainland Europe the following items must also be carried.
- Valid driving license for the whole journey.
- Insurance documents.
- Emissions sticker.
- Prepaid Toll Tickets (Portugal)
- Spare Wheel and Tools (Spain)
- Motorway Tax Sticker (Switzerland)
- Vehicle registration document (V5C)
- Visa(s) (If driving outside of the 27 Eu countries e.g. Turkey) https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
- Breakdown cover?
- Reflective triangle
- Snow Chains (winter only)
Loading and Unloading
When loading and unloading a vehicle containing Dangerous Goods, the goods themselves maybe accessible by the public which increases the risks of theft fire caused by sources of ignition that are being carried by the public e.g. people walking past smoking. Therefore, loading / unloading in a public place or built up area is prohibited.
Before loading or unloading ensure that the vehicle is switched off and the engine and brakes have cooled to minimise the risk of an engine or brake fire. Ensure that the fire extinguisher is readily available if such a fire were to happen.
Phones, Smoking, fire or naked flames
If you smoke or vape, you must ensure that your cigarettes, cigars, matches, lighters, vaporiser are or any other heat producing device is kept in the cab (when cab and load compartment are separated by a bulkhead), preferably in the glove compartment at all times when transporting, loading and unloading Dangerous Goods. The use of fire or naked flames and smoking or Vaping is prohibited in or in the vicinity (5m) of the vehicle during carriage or handling operations. If you, passenger, loading/unloading help or any other person needs to smoke then this must happen at least 5m downwind of the vehicle. Mobile phones and battery packs should also be kept in the cab during loading and unloading operations.
When loading, ensure that the boxes, cartons and packages are loaded evenly and in a stable way so that they do not move or fall over in transit. As far as possible it is best to load packages so that they that are spread evenly across the load area so that the walls of the load compartment securely hold the packages, it maybe necessary to secure the packages in place using straps or a cargo net.
When unloading, be aware that by removing boxes, cartons and packages you may leave the remaining goods in an unstable way. Before continuing a journey if necessary, restack the remaining cartons and packages and re-position they are stable.
Vehicle and Cargo Supervision
When carrying more than 50Kg NEC of smoke and pyrotechnics, vehicles shall always be supervised or alternatively may be parked, unsupervised, in a secure depot or secure factory premises.
If these facilities are not available, the vehicle, after having been properly secured, may be parked in
an isolated position meeting the requirements of (a), (b) or (c) below:
(a) A vehicle park supervised by an attendant who has been notified of the nature of the load and the whereabouts of the driver;
(b) A public or private vehicle park where the vehicle is not likely to suffer damage from other vehicles, we include hotel carparks, multi-storey car parks or similar (does not include on street parking); or
(c) A suitable open space separated from the public highway and from dwellings, where the public does not normally pass or assemble. We include the lorry parking area of a service station or an isolated area away from the road at a roadside rest stop in Europe.
The driver, emergency services and the competent authorities must be notified in the event of loss or fire.
In the UK when transporting EG products, the above supervision rules need not be followed if the vehicle is parked within a “safe and secure” place.
When there is an immediate risk that public safety may be jeopardized, the emergency services should be immediately notified, all information must be given to them so that they can take appropriate action.
Actions in the event of an accident or in an emergency
- Stop the vehicle in a safe location preferably off the carriage way and away from built up areas. Where possible isolate the battery;
- Avoid sources of ignition, do not smoke, use electronic cigarettes or similar devices or switch on any electrical equipment;
- Inform the appropriate emergency services, giving as much information about the incident or accident and substances involved as possible;
- Put on the high-vis jacket / vest and place the self-standing warning signs as appropriate;
- Keep the transport documents readily available for responders on arrival;
- Do not walk into or touch spilled substances and avoid inhalation of fumes, smoke, dusts and vapours by staying up wind;
- Where appropriate and safe to do so, use the fire extinguishers to put out small/initial fires
in tyres, brakes and engine compartments and any small grass fires in the vicinity;
- Do not tackle fires in load compartments;
- Where appropriate and safe to do so, use on-board equipment to prevent leakages into the
aquatic environment or the sewage system and to contain spillages;
- Move away from the vicinity of the accident or emergency, advise other persons to move away and follow the advice of the emergency services;
- Remove any contaminated clothing and used contaminated protective equipment and dispose of it safely.
- Inform the office.
Annex 1 – Transport information for EG products.
|Product||UN no.||Proper Shipping Name||Hazard Class||Hazard Diamond||NEC (Device)||NEC (Outer Carton)||Quantities (Inner Box)||Quantities (Outer Carton)|
|EG25 Micro Smoke||0507||SIGNALS, SMOKE||1.4S||15g||3 Kg||20||200|
|Wire Pull® Smoke||0507||SIGNALS, SMOKE||1.4S||50g||5 Kg||50||100|
|Burst Wire Pull® Smoke||0507||SIGNALS, SMOKE||1.4S||40g||4 Kg||50||100|
|EG18 Assault Smoke||0507||SIGNALS, SMOKE||1.4S||100g||2.5 Kg||12 / 13||25|
|EG18X Cover Smoke||0507||SIGNALS, SMOKE||1.4S||140g||3.5 Kg||12 / 13||25|
|EG18 Assault Smoke||0197||SIGNALS, SMOKE||1.4G||100g||5 Kg||25||50|
|Mil-X / PSG||0431||ARTICLES PYROTECHNIC, for technical purposes||1.4G||130g||6.5 Kg||25||50|
|SD75 High Output Smoke||0431||ARTICLES PYROTECHNIC, for technical purposes||1.4G||140g||5.0 Kg||1||12|
|CM75 High Output Smoke||0431||ARTICLES PYROTECHNIC, for technical purposes||1.4G||140g||4.5 Kg||1||12|
|EG67 Ball Grenade||0432||ARTICLES PYROTECHNIC, for technical purposes||1.4S||0.5g||0.025 Kg||25||50|
|Wire Pull® Paint Grenade||0432||ARTICLES PYROTECHNIC, for technical purposes||1.4S||0.5g||0.025 Kg||25||50|
|Wire Pull® Flash 1.0||0431||ARTICLES PYROTECHNIC, for technical purposes||1.4G||1.5g||0.15 Kg||50||100|
|Wire Pull® Flash Grenade 3.0||0431||ARTICLES PYROTECHNIC, for technical purposes||1.4G||3.0g||3.0 Kg||50||100|
|Mk5 Thunderflash||0431||ARTICLES PYROTECHNIC, for technical purposes||1.4G||0.5g||0.1 Kg||100||200|
|Mk7 Thunderflash||0431||ARTICLES PYROTECHNIC, for technical purposes||1.4G||3g||0.42 Kg||60||120|