Fireworks can be exciting and dramatic, and at this time of the year they are extremely popular as we head towards bonfire night and other autumn/winter celebrations.
However, the fact is that fireworks are dangerous and must be handled with extreme care. They have the potential to cause serious injury, but by following sensible guidance and being alert, we can all enjoy them without incident.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has various forms of guidance on keeping safe when attending or organising firework displays.
Organised firework displays
It may seem obvious but the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to go to a professional, organised display. These displays will be conducted by trained and experienced technicians, with a well-planned, safe show, with spectators made to stand in a safe location.
Smaller organised displays may not follow the same health and safety considerations. If you plan to attend a display at a pub or school, for example, you should be raising questions, such as:
- Who will be letting off the fireworks?
- What training they have received?
- Has a risk assessment been undertaken?
- What safety precautions are in place?
- Does the organiser have appropriate insurance in place for if things go wrong?
Private firework displays
Fireworks are readily available to purchase for private displays at home. They are designed to be set off by a relative novice, but that does mean that they come with risks. If you buy your own fireworks, you should take extra special care to ensure your celebration goes without incident.
Don’t forget that bonfires and sparklers also come with their own risks. You should ensure that you keep a particular eye on children and pets and ensure that neither is left unattended with fires or lit sparklers nearby.
Why not put the children’s sparklers in the end of a carrot which will serve as a chunky, cool handle as well as a healthy snack!
Firework injury claims
Despite taking precautions, there are still many firework injuries across the country every year.
If you have been injured as a result of an organised or private firework display and your injuries weren’t your fault, then you may be able to make a personal injury compensation claim. The types of injuries that you could make a claim for include:
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Hearing damage
- Full or partial sight loss
- Psychological injuries as a result of an accident, including as a result of seeing a loved one getting injured.
If you are injured at an organised firework display, the organiser is liable for the injuries and subsequent losses that you suffer as a spectator.
With regards to private firework displays, these are statistically more likely to result in injuries, particularly if the person setting them off is not experienced in doing so, has consumed alcohol or that there is not enough space in the area in which the fireworks are being set off.
If you are injured at a private display, the person letting off the fireworks is liable for your injuries, however, that person is unlikely to carry any insurance which can make a claim harder to pursue but it may still be possible.
If you sustain a firework injury that was not your fault, then it is important to seek expert legal advice in relation to making a claim.