Jun 25, 2021
We so much look forward to our local fireworks displays (where legally allowed) and want everyone to have as much safety as they have fun! That being said, Independence Day is a time for calculated fun.
Because fireworks can do significant damage. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), they cause an average of 18,500 fires and injure about 9,300 people per year in the U.S. and, those are just the reported statistics so we know the numbers are higher. Significantly higher if we had to guess.
The NFPA and OSHA are our go-to sources for safety when it comes to storing and using fireworks at your place of business.
OSHA’s Top 10 Fireworks Safety Tips
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.
A more thorough list can be found at osha.gov, covering pre-display approvals, pre-display site checklist, display checklist, and post-display checklist. We can never be too careful!
Where and how your fireworks are stored can make a big difference. If you are unable to find a dry, cool spot, wrap your fireworks tightly in sealed plastic bags and put silica gel desiccant packets in the containers. Many office buildings have basements and some have attics; these are examples of humid or damp storage areas that are to be avoided if possible.
We often don’t think of certain everyday situations as dangerous. Like the instance at a fireworks storage facility in Kansas a few years back where a gas-powered forklift was used to move pallets of fireworks and cardboard. The explosion and fire that followed caused one employee’s death and another critically injured.
We recommend keeping the room housing your fireworks secure using locks and/or access control. Program this room so that only a select few employees can access it. Keep fireworks clearly labeled and away from flammable materials (gas, oil). Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and consider placing the fireworks away from the entry (so an escape is possible). You might also consider a fire door.
You probably know many of the basics around firework lighting safety but it never hurts to have a refresher course. Protective gear and proper clothing are mentioned in OSHA’s list above, so safety glasses and fireproof clothing are a must. Keeping a bucket of water nearby is a great precaution while lighting them and should be used at the end of your show to soak all of your used fireworks. Instruct your staff to light one firework at a time, never hold fireworks in their hands or carry them in pockets (friction) and postpone when windy. Always keep spectators at a safe distance and direct fireworks away from people and trees.
If you have any questions about fireworks storage or use - at home or at work - don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We want only the best for your beautiful fireworks displays this 4th of July!