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Placing of pyrotechnic articles on the market

With a view to ensuring the free movement of pyrotechnic articles*, this Directive creates a legislative framework at Community level, introducing minimum safety requirements for such articles. It also harmonises the provision of information on the safe handling and use of pyrotechnic articles.

ACT

Directive 2007/23/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 May 2007 on the placing on the market of pyrotechnic articles.

SUMMARY

The purpose of this Directive is to ensure the free movement of pyrotechnic articles. In order to protect human health and guarantee the safety of consumers and professional users, it sets out the essential safety requirements which pyrotechnic articles must meet before they are placed on the market.

Categorisation and age limits

There are three types of pyrotechnic article: fireworks, theatrical pyrotechnic articles and other pyrotechnic articles. Each type of pyrotechnic article must be categorised by the manufacturer according to its type of use, purpose or noise level. 4. This Directive stipulates that pyrotechnic articles must not be sold or made otherwise available to consumers below specified age limits.

Placing on the market, free movement and “CE” marking

The Member States must ensure that pyrotechnic articles cannot be placed on the market unless they satisfy the requirements of this Directive, they bear the “CE” marking and they comply with the obligations regarding conformity assessment.

The Member States may not prohibit, restrict or hinder the placing on the market of pyrotechnic articles which fall within the scope of this Directive and which satisfy its requirements. The provisions of the Directive do not preclude a Member State from taking measures which are justified on grounds of public security or safety to restrict the use and/or the sale of high-risk fireworks to the general public.

Upon completion of the conformity assessment, the “CE” marking must be affixed on the pyrotechnic articles by the manufacturer.

Labelling

Pyrotechnic articles must be properly labelled in the official language(s) of the country in which they are sold.

The labelling must state, as a minimum:

  • the name and address of the manufacturer and the name of the importer, where the manufacturer is not established in the Community;
  • the designation and type of the pyrotechnic article;
  • the age limits;
  • the relevant category;
  • the instructions for use;
  • the safety distance to be observed;
  • the quantity of active explosive material.

Other information must be displayed on the articles, depending on their type and category.

Pyrotechnic articles for vehicles are subject to special rules on labelling.

Market surveillance

The Member States must take steps to ensure that pyrotechnic articles may be placed on the market only if they do not endanger people’s health and safety. For example, they must carry out regular inspections of pyrotechnic articles on entry into the Community.

Where a Member State believes that a product presents a serious risk, it must quickly inform the Commission and the other Member States and perform an evaluation of the product.

A safeguard clause procedure allows a Member State to contest the provisional measures taken by another Member State to withdraw an article from the market or to restrict its free movement.

Conformity assessment

To ensure that pyrotechnic articles comply with the essential safety requirements, the manufacturer must follow a conformity assessment procedure. Harmonised standards for the design, manufacture and testing of pyrotechnic articles are developed by the European standardisation bodies, such as the Committee for European Standardisation (CEN).

The Member States appoint authorised bodies, known as 'notified bodies', to carry out the conformity assessment procedures.

Obligations of the manufacturer, importer and distributor

Manufacturers must ensure that pyrotechnic articles meet the essential safety requirements. They have to submit the articles to a notified body, which will perform a conformity assessment procedure. If the article meets the requirements of this Directive, the notified body will issue a certificate of conformity to the manufacturer, who will affix the "CE" marking to the article.

If the manufacturer is not established in the Community, the importer must ensure that the product meets the requirements of this Directive.

Finally, distributors also have obligations: they must verify that the article bears the conformity markings and is accompanied by the required documents.

Key terms of the act
  • Pyrotechnic article: any article containing explosive substances or an explosive mixture of substances designed to produce heat, light, sound, gas or smoke or a combination of such effects through self-sustained exothermic chemical reactions.

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 2007/23/EC [adoption: codecision COD/2005/0194]4.7.20074.1.2010OJ L 154 of 14.6.2007

RELATED ACTS

Council Directive 93/15/EEC of 5 April 1993 on the harmonisation of the provisions relating to the placing on the market and supervision of explosives for civil uses [Official Journal L 121 of 15.05.1993].
This Directive seeks to harmonise the Member States’ laws relating to explosives for civil uses. It excludes pyrotechnic articles from its scope.

Commission Directive 2004/57/EC of 23 April 2004 on the identification of pyrotechnic articles and certain ammunition for the purposes of Council Directive 93/15/EEC on the harmonisation of the provisions relating to the placing on the market and supervision of explosives for civil uses [Official Journal L 127 of 29.04.2004].
Directive 93/15/EEC does not apply to pyrotechnic articles but to explosives for civil uses. Certain products, however, have a dual function, since it is possible to use them either as explosives or as pyrotechnic articles. In order to ensure consistent application of Directive 93/15/EEC, this Directive identifies the products in question in terms of their predominant character.

Council Directive 96/98/EC of 20 December 1996 on marine equipment [Official Journal L 46 of 17.02.1997].
This Directive lays down Community standards governing safety in the performance of marine equipment on board ships. Directive 2007/23/EC does not apply to the pyrotechnic articles covered by Directive 96/98/EC.

Council Directive 96/82/EC of 9 December 1996 on the control of major-accident hazards involving dangerous substances [Official Journal L 10 of 14.01.1997].
Following on from the first Seveso Directive of 1982, the Seveso II Directive is intended to prevent major accidents involving dangerous substances and to limit their consequences for man and the environment. This Directive sets out safety requirements for establishments where explosives, including pyrotechnic substances, are present.

Council Directive 88/378/EEC of 3 May 1988 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning the safety of toys [Official Journal L 187 of 16.07.1988].
This Directive sets out the safety criteria with which toys must comply when they are manufactured and before they are placed on the European market. Percussion caps intended specifically for toys (for example, caps for toy guns) fall within the scope of Council Directive 88/378/EEC and therefore do not fall within the scope of Directive 2007/23/EC on pyrotechnic articles.

Last updated: 28.04.2008
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