As Independence Day weekend nears, those in the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry will be at greater risk for injury from hazards in manufacturing, storing, transporting, displaying and selling fireworks for public events.
"Millions of Americans will enjoy the excitement and beauty fireworks bring to the 4th of July holiday, but we must recognize the dangers workers in the pyrotechnics industry face every day," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "It is vital that employers take the required steps to ensure workers' safety and health."
OSHA offers these 10 tips to protect fireworks display operators:
- Make sure personnel are trained and competent.
- Obtain required licenses, permits and inspections.
- Maintain display site security and communications.
- Wear protective gear and proper clothing.
- Prohibit accidental ignition sources.
- Properly install mortar boxes, racks and drums.
- Keep fireworks cartons closed.
- Keep fireworks dry and in good condition.
- Always handle fireworks carefully.
- Stay away from loaded mortars.
One worker was killed and another critically injured last summer in an explosion and fire at a fireworks storage facility in Kansas. Two employees were told to use a gas-powered forklift to move pallets of fireworks and cardboard out of an explosives storage facility when the gas ignited, causing an explosion and fire.
OSHA cited the employer, Lone Star Management, with nine serious safety violations and assessed $55,000 in fines.