WorkCover NSW has issued a warning against the illegal sale and use of fireworks this New Year's Eve.

"We want families across NSW to welcome in the new year safely and are urging people to not risk injury to themselves, families and friends by using backyard fireworks," said Acting General Manager of WorkCover's Work Health and Safety Division, Peter Dunphy.

Backyard firework displays are illegal in NSW and those who buy, sell or use fireworks without a WorkCover licence face heavy fines or imprisonment.

"We all enjoy the spectacular public fireworks displays on New Year's Eve, however, fireworks should always be set off by a trained and licensed individual, who knows how to manage relevant risks to ensure they are used safely," Mr Dunphy said.

In NSW the possession, use, storage and transport of display fireworks is restricted to individuals holding an appropriate WorkCover NSW licence.

During the past two years almost five tonnes of illegal fireworks have been seized in NSW and during this time WorkCover has also undertaken a program of inspections at more than 50 fireworks displays and import consignments.

Mr Dunphy said all fireworks displays are required to be notified to WorkCover NSW prior to an event.

"Licensed Pyrotechnicians are also required to notify other relevant authorities, including NSW Police Force, NSW Fire and Rescue or Rural Fire Service and local Council before a fireworks display can take place," he said.

Using fireworks without a licence risks an on-the-spot fine of up to $1,000. There are also penalties of up to $27,500 for displaying fireworks without a licence.

Selling or purchasing fireworks without a licence can also result in fines of $27,000 and 12 months jail.

Call 13 10 50 or visit www.workcover.nsw.gov.au for information on approved fireworks displays.

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