Safety alert: Safe use of sparklers

Creating unforgettable guest experiences is at the core of every hospitality business. With the rise in social media, businesses are looking to become fresher, newer and more exciting to attract both new and regular customers. And one way that hospitality businesses are doing this is through the use of sparklers – for example, in cocktails, cakes, and for entertainment.

The media has cast scrutiny over the additional risks from using sparklers in venues in recent months, including reporting on two venues that recently suffered substantial fires and were forced to close to repair the damages caused (costing them for both the lost business and the repairs). So, make sure you’re using sparklers safely and responsibly and avoid damage to your business with this quick update from our Health & Safety experts.

Why can using sparklers be so dangerous? 

The issue arises where venues decide to use sparklers without considering the potential consequences. Sparklers can cause devastating effects. Traditional sparklers are fireworks that can burn up to temperatures of over 1,000 degrees Celsius. The heat generated from this alone can cause severe burns, not to mention the risk of fire.

Most hospitality venues are full of sources of fuel (combustibles). Looking round a simple restaurant, for example, you could find napkins, decorations, paper and other fuel sources that could very easily go up in flames unless extreme caution is taken. These venues are often very busy, with customers potentially being under the influence of alcohol – therefore less likely to act in desirable ways should an accident strike.

Hospitality venue owners, managers and people responsible for Health & Safety within the business have to ensure that their workplace has robust assessments and procedures for the safe storage, use and disposal of sparklers and other incendiary devices. Additionally, they must make sure there are robust emergency procedures in place for when things go wrong.

Other businesses such as events companies and activity centres should also consider their control measures when sparklers are used, both indoors and outdoors.

What do you need to do?

  • Review current risk assessments and fire risk assessments and make sure that they include the storage and use of sparklers in food/drinks/activities across the venue.
  • Make sure your sparklers are UKCA/UKNI marked (or CE marked till 31 December 2024) for Great Britain and Northern Ireland as this means they comply with national codes.
  • Provide training to all staff to cover the safe storage, use and disposal of sparklers. (For instance, consider a bucket of cold water to dispose of sparklers once they have finished burning. Do not place them straight into the bin.)
  • Draw up a plan for where sparklers can and can’t be used – consider areas with low ceilings, poor ventilation, curtains and other combustibles as places that they can’t be used.
  • Don’t leave customers unattended around sparklers and ensure that only sparklers provided by the venue are used. Make sure the sparklers are secure in the food/drink – it’s wise to avoid placing them  in drinks or ice cream (consider bottle clips, etc.).
  • Ensure that emergency procedures are in place with the relevant fire extinguishers to deal with any accidents should they arise.
  • Consider your first aid provisions with the increase of burns.
  • Finally, make sure you continuously consult and remind your workforce of the procedures to ensure everyone understands the scope and potential impact of the issue. Encourage reporting of near-misses and make sure these are investigated to avoid real emergencies.

Note: You could consider the use of “ice fountains” instead of the use of traditional wire sparklers. Unlike traditional sparklers, ice fountains present lower risks of burns and heat-related damages due to the construction of their wrapping. Most ice fountains burn no hotter than a standard candle making them a safer alternative (noting that they are still fireworks).

Got any questions?

We’re here 24/7 on our advice line for our clients to answer any questions. Simply dial 0345 844 4848.






Pop in your details and we'll call you straight back

We'll get back to you as soon as we can.