Firstly, you should see if your school, or school jurisdiction, has any established policies and procedures, and comply with these. Starter guns and caps may be noted with sporting equipment as they are generally used for athletics and swimming events. They are also sometimes used for sound experiments in science.
Caps for starter pistols are classified as explosives Dangerous Goods class 1.41 and are sensitive to ignition from friction, abrasion, static electricity and impact. They should not be carried in pockets or hands as burn Injuries have occurred from accidental ignition2
Storage of starter caps
Starter caps should be stored3, 4:
- Securely in a locked cupboard, to prevent unauthorised access.
- Segregated from all other classes of Dangerous Goods classes, in a cool dry place.
- In minimal quantities in rigid plastic spark proof containers which are clearly labelled as explosive.
- Separately from the starting pistol(s).
- Away from ignition sources such as heat and naked flames.
- Away from contact with metal or sharp objects.
If your starter pistol resembles a firearm, your school may not allow you to have one of this style. If your school does allow this type of starter pistol you may need to obtain a Firearms Permit from your state/territory regulator.
These must be in place to use a starter pistol.3, 4
- Only a minimal quantity of caps should be carried.
- Care should be taken when inserting caps into the starter pistol.
- Hearing protection should be worn by staff using the pistol and those in close proximity.
- The pistol should be fired at arms- length above the shoulder and not pointed at anyone.
- Students are not allowed to operate a starting gun.
- All spent or partially spent caps should be safely disposed of according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Starter caps should be included in the school’s hazardous chemical register.
Schools may want to consider alternative starting devices such as whistles, horns or electronic starting pistols.
1 ‘Australian Code for the Transport of Explosives by Road and Rail - 3rd edition’, Safe Work Australia Website, https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/doc/australian-code-transport-explo... (1 January 2009)
2 ‘Starter gun caps ignite in pocket’, 2013. Queensland Government Department of Natural Resources and Mines, https://www.dnrme.qld.gov.au/business/mining/safety-and-health/alerts-an...
3 Queensland Department of Education. 2018. Starting pistols and caps, Queensland Department of Education website, https://education.qld.gov.au/initiativesstrategies/Documents/fact-sheet-...
4‘Workplace Health and Safety Hazard Alert: Starting Gun Caps’ April 2014, https://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/school/principals/management/...
FIREARMS REGISTRY Starting Pistol Permit, Nov 2019. see https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/133228/Startin... (This document contains storage information)
‘Starting Pistol’, NSW Police Force website, https://www.police.nsw.gov.au/online_services/firearms/permits/firearms_... This has the link to FACT Sheet - Starting Pistol Permit (PDF)