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July 02, 2014
20 tips for safe fireworks sales and displays

With the July 4th holiday approaching, OSHA is reminding the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry to be vigilant in protecting workers from the hazards associated with manufacturing, storing, transporting, displaying, and selling fireworks. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels commented, “As we celebrate the July 4 holiday with fireworks and festivities, we must also be mindful of the safety of workers who handle pyrotechnics.”

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The reminder comes in the wake of a fatal incident in Washington state. In mid-June, an explosion at a fireworks facility there killed one worker and injured two more. State occupational safety and health officials are investigating. In another recent case, a worker suffered fatal burns caused by an explosion at a fireworks facility, leading to more than $45,000 in citations for safety violations for the company.

OSHA and the American Pyrotechnics Association provide the following safety tips for retail fireworks sales establishments:

  1. Keep exits clear and accessible.
  2. Know all exit routes.
  3. Maintain view of fireworks.
  4. Know alarm procedures.
  5. Know fire extinguisher location and operation.
  6. Remove and dispose of damaged fireworks.
  7. Remove loose pyrotechnic powder promptly.
  8. Use only non-sparking tools. Do not use vacuum cleaners.
  9. Do not allow smoking within 50 feet of fireworks.
  10. Keep fireworks facilities secure.

Companies operating fireworks displays should keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Make sure personnel are trained and competent.
  2. Obtain all required licenses, permits, and inspections.
  3. Maintain display site security and communications.
  4. Ensure that workers wear protective gear and proper clothing. Workers should wear long pants and long sleeves made of cotton, wool, or similar flame-resistant cloth.
  5. Prohibit accidental ignition sources, such as cigarettes, lighters, and matches.
  6. Properly install mortar boxes, racks, and drums.
  7. Keep fireworks cartons closed.
  8. Keep fireworks dry and in good condition.
  9. Always handle fireworks carefully.
  10. Stay away from loaded mortars.
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