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Industry Best Practices

There are a variety of hazards associated with fireworks display, the primary ones resulting from fires and unplanned detonations. This page provides example industry practices to control these hazards.

American Pyrotechnics Association (APA)

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

  • APA Standard 87-1, The Standard for Construction and Approval for Transportation of Fireworks, Novelties, and Theatrical Pyrotechnics. American Pyrotechnics Association.
  • General Information for Fire Service Professionals, Fireworks (Pyrotechnics). American Pyrotechnics Association, P.O. Box 30438, Bethesda, Maryland, 20824 - 0438, 1 page. Contains links for firefighters concerning fireworks.
International Code Council (ICC)

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

  • International Fire Code (IFC). Addresses fire safety in new and existing buildings and together with the International Building Code, comprehensively references national standards.
    • Chapter 33: Fireworks and Explosives.
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

  • 1, Uniform Fire Code, 2006 Edition. Incorporates provisions form NFPA's Fire Prevention Code and Western Fire Chiefs Association's (WFCA's) Uniform Fire Code into one far-reaching document that serves the need of every jurisdiction. The 2006 Code offers guidance on vital fire prevention and fire protection topics.
    • Chapter 65, Explosives, Fireworks, and Model Rocketry
  • 10, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, 2006 Edition. Provides guidance on equipment distribution, placement, maintenance, operation, and inspection, including testing and recharging.
  • 101, Life Safety Code, 2006 Edition. Adopted as law by jurisdictions in most states, the Life Safety Code has grown in scope to provide a minimum building design, construction, operation and maintenance requirements needed to protect building occupants from the dangers of fire, smoke, toxic fumes, and panic.
  • 102, Standards for Grandstands, Folding and Telescoping Seating, Tents, and Membrane Structures, 2006 Edition. National Fire Protection Association. Provides standards for protecting lives from fire, storm, collapse, and panic in grandstands, bleachers, mass folding or telescopic seats, tents and air-supported structures.
  • 160, Standard for Flame Effects Before an Audience, 2006 Edition. Provides guidance on the use of indoor and outdoor special effects in the areas of design, installation, testing, operation, maintenance and approval.
  • 306, Standard for the Control of Gas Hazards on Vessels, 2003 Edition. Specifies safety requirements on marine vessels that carry or burn as fuel any of the following: flammable or combustible liquids, flammable compressed gases, or chemicals in bulk.
  • 1123, Code for Fireworks Display, 2006 Edition. Applies to the construction, handling, and use of fireworks and equipment intended for outdoor fireworks display. It also applies to the general conduct and operation of the display.
  • 1126, Standard for the Use of Pyrotechnics Before a Proximate Audience, 2006 Edition. Provides requirements for the protection of property, operators, performers, support personnel, and the viewing audiences where pyrotechnic effects are used indoors or outdoors with a proximate audience.
  • Fire Protection Guide to Hazardous Materials, 13th Edition. This guide includes the following:
    • 49, Hazardous Chemicals Data
    • 325, Guide to Fire Hazard Properties of Flammable Liquids, Gases and Volatile Solids
Institute of Makers of Explosives (IME)
  • Institute of Makers of Explosives. A non-profit association which provides technical information and recommendations concerning commercial explosive materials to promote the safety and protection of employees, users, the public and the environment throughout all aspects of the manufacture and use of explosive materials in industrial blasting and other essential operations.

IME has many safety library publications:

  • Construction Guide for Storage Magazines,
  • The American Table of Distances,
  • Suggested Code of Regulations,
  • Warnings and Instructions,
  • Glossary of Commercial Explosives Industry Terms,
  • Transportation & Distribution Handbook,
  • Safety in the Transportation, Storage, Handling and Use of Commercial Explosive Materials,
  • Safety Guide for the Prevention of Radio Frequency Radiation Hazards in the Use of Commercial Detonators (Blasting Caps),
  • Recommendations for the Safe Transportation of Detonators in the Same Vehicle with Certain Other Explosive Materials and Generic Guide for the use of IME 22 Container,
  • 2000 Emergency Response Guidebook and a full set of safety library publications.
  • American Table of Distances. The distances specified are those measured from the explosive materials storage facility to the inhabited building, highway or passenger railway, irrespective of property lines.
  • Shelf Life of Explosive Materials. Due to the diversity of the products manufactured by companies, not one shelf life standard can, or should be applied, to all explosive materials. IME recommends storing explosive materials so that corresponding grades, brands, sizes and "Date-Plant-Shift" codes are together, and rotation of stock so that the oldest material in the magazine is used first (first in/first out).
  • Non-Electric Ignition Systems. A thru E steps to safely use non-electric ignition systems.
  • Fumes From Blasting Operations. Blasting operations produce toxic and nontoxic gases as a normal by-product regardless of the types of explosive materials used. To minimize any hazardous exposure from the gases produced by outdoor blasting, it is essential that the blaster understand the hazards that may occur and follow the recommended steps to have a safe operation.
  • Placement of Detonators and Boosters At the Collar of Blast Holes Prior to Loading. This practice ensures that the designed delay pattern is being followed which eliminates many hazards from occurring when a large number of holes are being blasted, the blast consists of multi rows, there are several crews loading the blast, the blast pattern is irregular or a combination of delay systems (electronic detonators sequential blasting machine, shock tube/delay primers, etc.) is being deployed.
  • Date/Plant/Shift Code. IME has an easy method of coding for product tracing that consists of the date, work shift and plant of manufacture that is plainly marked on each unit to be identified.
  • Inhabited Buildings. Definitions for "inhabited building".
International Code Council (ICC)

Note: These are NOT OSHA regulations. However, they do provide guidance from their originating organizations related to worker protection.

  • International Fire Code (IFC). Addresses fire safety in new and existing buildings and together with the International Building Code, comprehensively references national standards.
    • Chapter 33: Fireworks and Explosives.
International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE)
  • International Society of Explosives Engineers (ISEE). Formed in 1974 as a professional society dedicated to promoting the safe and controlled use of explosives in mining, quarrying, construction, manufacturing, demolition, aerospace, forestry, avalanche control, art, automotives, special effects, exploration, seismology, agriculture, law enforcement, and many other peaceful uses of explosives. The Blaster's Library offers hundreds of publications:
    • Von Maltitz, Ian. Black Powder Manufacturing, Testing and Optimizing. (2003). Reflects changes in the approach to making black powder. Contains depictions and descriptions of black powder by the author based on his experiences.
    • Conkling, John A. Chemistry of Pyrotechnics. (1985). Provides information on the components and preparation of mixtures; ignition and propagation; heat and delay composition; color, light, smoke, and sound production.
    • Davis, Tenney L. Chemistry of Powder and Explosives. (1943). Supplies information concerning the modes of behavior of explosive substances & the phenomena, both chemical and physical, which they exhibit. This book is primarily for chemists.
    • Kentish, Thomas. Complete Art of Firework Making. (1993). Describes basic techniques that have changed little since Victorian England. First written 115 years ago, new illustrations and information have been added in this updated version.
    • Dannenberg, Joe. Contemporary History of Industrial Explosives in America. (1978). Describes the changes in the explosives industry from one of the most recognized names in blasting, focusing on the profession. It includes information about the development of ANFO, slurries, and blasthole dewatering.
    • Meyer, Rudolph. Explosives. (2002). Contains five-hundred entries including formulas and descriptions of about 120 explosive chemicals, 60 additives, fuels and oxidizing agents and a 1,500-entry subject index.
    • Explosives Products Guide. (2003). Provides product charts which include ANFOs, Emulsions, Emulsion/ANFO Blends, Water Gels, Specialty Explosives, Dynamites, Cast Boosters, Detonators/Initiation Systems and list of Manufacturers.
    • Friend, Robert C. Explosives Training Manual. (1975). Provides the prospective blaster with a structured, well-illustrated, and easy to understand, source of information on the handling and use of explosives. Ideal for training and for the user of explosives.
    • Safe Practices Manual - Explosives. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Report (1978). Contains regulations, standards, and recommendations for supervisors and employees. This safe practices manual is for the manufacture, transportation, storage, and use of explosives.
    • Safe Practices Manual - Pyrotechnics. (1991). Covers the manufacture, transportation, storage, and use of pyrotechnics, and includes field mixing.
    • Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air, 2001-2002 Edition. International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) AN/905.
Using Consensus standards to support a 5(a)(1) Citation

A consensus standard can be used to show "industry recognition" of a hazard. However, the hazard must be recognized in the employers’ industry, not an industry other than the employers’ industry.

Section 5(a)(1):

  • is not used to enforce "should" standards
  • is not used to require abatement methods not required by a specific standard.
  • is not normally used to cover categories of hazards exempted by an OSHA standard.
  • The general duty provisions can only be used where there is no standard that applies to the particular hazard involved.

Background

Section 5(a)(1):

Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;

The general duty provisions can only be used where there is no standard that applies to the particular hazard involved.

Evaluation of Potential 5(a)(1) situations

Employer failed to keep workplace free of hazards to which employees of that employer were exposed.

  • Must involve a serious hazard and employee exposure
  • Does not specify a particular abatement method – only that the employer keeps the workplace free of serious hazards by any feasible and effective means.
  • The hazard must be reasonably foreseeable.

The hazard was recognized.

  • Industry recognition
  • Employer recognition
  • Common-sense recognition

The hazard caused or was likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

Feasible means to correct the hazard were available.

Other Resources

  • The Fireworks Manual. Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, Canada, (1991).
  • Lancaster, Ronald. Fireworks Principles And Practice, Third Edition. Chemical Publishing Company, Inc., New York, New York, (1998). [ISBN 0-8206-0354-6].
  • Conkling, John A. Chemistry of Pyrotechnics: Basic Principles and Theory. Marcel Dekker, New York, New York, (1986). [ISBN 0-8247-7443-4]. Detailed book on the fundamental chemical principles involved in pyrotechnics and production.
  • Kroeger, J. Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety 2:1813-1815. Pyrotechnics production and associated health hazards are reviewed. Chemicals of interest are nitrocellulose, potassium nitrate, sulfur, silver-fulminate, and charcoals.
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