Ensuring safe explosives for non-military use

European Union (EU) policy on explosives for civil uses has three key aims. These are: i) to establish a single EU market for trade in explosives for civil uses; ii) to harmonise their safety requirements at a high level of protection; iii) to set up an administrative system to supervise transfers of explosives and ammunition.

Directive 2014/28/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market and supervision of explosives for civil uses (recast).


It sets out rules for the placing on the market and supervision of explosives for civil uses in the EU. It does not apply to:

explosives intended for use by the armed forces or the police;
pyrotechnic articles; or
ammunition (subject to exceptions).

Key Points

The directive lays down manufacturers’, importers’ and distributors’ responsibilities with respect to the trade in commercial explosives.

Explosives made available on the EU market must bear the CE conformity mark to show that they meet all essential safety requirements under EU law.
To obtain the CE mark, the manufacturer must carry out a conformity assessment, draw up detailed technical documentation for the products and make sure they are traceable.
Importers must check whether manufacturers have carried out conformity assessments correctly and inform the national authority appointed to monitor safety if they believe the explosive represents a risk.
All necessary documentation must be recorded and kept for 10 years.

Documentation and safety information must be written in a language easily understood by end-users.
Manufacturers and importers must give their postal address on the explosive.

Distributors must check that the explosive bears the CE mark and that it is accompanied by the required documents and by instructions written in a language easily understood by end-users in the country of destination. If they believe the explosives represent a risk, they must inform the national authority appointed to monitor safety accordingly.
The directive also:

lays down requirements for the bodies carrying out conformity assessments, which must be independent and impartial;
specifies the steps to be taken by national market surveillance authorities to identify non-compliant products, prevent the import of dangerous products from non-EU countries and take all appropriate corrective action.


The directive will apply from 20 April 2016. It replaces Directive 93/15/EEC as of 20.4.2016.


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