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Detonators

Volume 929: debated on Monday 28 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what statutory system is in force for accounting for detonators by licence holders; and if such accounts are open to inspection by statutory authority;(2) if he will list the statutory provisions which place an obligation upon those who hold an appropriate licence or a police certificate to report losses of detonators to the police;(3) what statutory system of accounting for the use of detonators by shot firers at the quarry face is in force;(4) what statutory arrangements are in force for the regular inspection by the police of detonators held by construction companies employed on civil engineering works;(5) what statutory arrangements are in force for the inspection by the police of magazines at quarries where detonators are held in store;(6) if he will list the statutory provisions which place an obligation upon those who hold an appropriate licence to keep accounts of the use of, or disposal of, the detonators in their possession.

The controls over explosives, including detonators, in Great Britain are set out in the Explosives Acts 1875 and 1923 and Orders made under the Acts, the Control of Explosives Order 1953 and the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.Any person holding detonators must be in possession of either a certificate issued by the police stating that he is a fit person to keep explosives or a licence issued by the Health and Safety Executive. The Control of Explosives Order 1953 requires all holders of police certificates to keep records of acquisition and transfer. These records, which must be kept for five years, must be made available on request to any police officer or to any inspector appointed under the provisions of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 by the Health and Safety Executive or any body appointed as an enforcing authority under the 1974 Act. The recording system required of Health and Safety Executive licensees is determined either by the conditions contained in any licence granted or may be determined by administrative action. Records must be made available to any inspector appointed under the provisions of the 1974 Act and, if they are defective, such inspectors have powers to require that the system be brought up to the necessary standard. These provisions apply to quarries, although no specific accounting system is required for the use of detonators at the quarry face.The security of the premises in which detonators are to be kept is taken into account by the police in considering whether to issue a "fit-person certificate", and the police undertake as part of their normal functions such duties as are concerned with the security of such premises.There is no statutory requirement for licensees and holders of police certificates to report losses. Although there are arrangements whereby losses are reported to the police and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Explosives, the Government are considering whether to make a formal requirement by regulation under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.