Fireworks are beautiful but they also can be dangerous if proper precautions aren't taken. Pay attention to these safety tips when handling fireworks this Fourth of July.

Keeping the Fourth Fun and Safe

July 2, 2013
Both OSHA and FEMA are urging people to remember to take safety precautions if celebrating the Fourth of July with fireworks.

The Fourth of July is days away, with families and friends getting together to celebrate with fireworks, picnics and more. After Independence Day, news reports are filled with stories of injuries and fires related to fireworks. Burns and injuries to the eyes are not uncommon when safety precautions are not followed for fireworks.

FEMA is offering these tips to help everyone celebrate a safe Fourth of July:

  • Make sure that fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Keep a bucket of water or garden hose readily accessible in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Soak fireworks in a bucket of water before throwing into the trash can.
  • Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not fully ignited.
  • Adult supervision is needed with fireworks. Sparklers, handheld fireworks, are a leading cause of injury for young children.
  • Light one firework at a time and immediately back away.

OSHA is urging the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry to be vigilant in protecting workers from hazards while manufacturing, storing, transporting, displaying and selling fireworks for public events.

"As we look forward to July 4 celebrations with fireworks and festivities, we must also consider the safety of workers who handle pyrotechnics," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Employers are responsible for keeping everyone safe on the job and taking appropriate measures to protect workers from serious injuries or death."

In March 2012, three workers suffered serious burns caused by an explosion at Global Pyrotechnic Solutions Inc. OSHA cited the Dittmer, Mo., company nearly $117,000 for safety violations relating to explosive hazards.

OSHA's pyrotechnics directive, Compliance Policy for Manufacture, Storage, Sale, Handling, Use and Display of Pyrotechnics, provides inspection guidance and OSHA requirements as they apply to pyrotechnics facilities and operations. OSHA's Web page on the pyrotechnics industry addresses retail sales of fireworks and fireworks displays. Information on common fireworks hazards and solutions found in both areas of the industry, and downloadable safety posters for workplaces are available on OSHA’s web site, and includes a video that demonstrates best industry practices for retail sales and manufacturers based on National Fire Protection Association consensus standards.

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