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APA remarks by Julie L. Heckman, Executive Director,
on signing the OSHA and APA Alliance

OSHA Alliance Signing Ceremony
June 9, 2004

Good afternoon, I'm Julie Heckman, Executive Director of the American Pyrotechnics Association. As the leading trade association of the fireworks industry, the APA is extremely pleased to enter into this Alliance with OSHA. The APA and our 260 member companies are excited to have the opportunity to work collaboratively with OSHA to enhance the overall safety and health of workers in the fireworks industry.

During the past decade, the fireworks industry has experienced unprecedented growth. In fact, the consumption of fireworks in the United States has risen dramatically from 67 million pounds in 1990 to almost 221 million pounds in 2003. Fireworks are now associated with celebrating all sorts of occasions, not just our Nation's independence, with large outdoor public displays. Proximate pyrotechnics, or indoor fireworks, are increasingly used to enhance theatrical productions, rock concerts, sporting events, ice shows and political conventions.

And, the use of consumer or backyard fireworks by the general public, has skyrocketed in recent years due to a renewed spirit of pride and patriotism and an increase in the number of states allowing consumer fireworks. More states than ever before allow the sale and use of consumer fireworks to the general public.

With the dramatic increase in fireworks usage, the APA has an enhanced resolve to ensure that fireworks and pyrotechnic devices are manufactured, distributed and used in a safe manner. Accordingly, entering into this Alliance with OSHA is of paramount importance to the APA. The professional fireworks industry has so much expertise to lend to the regulatory and enforcement community, and the APA is excited to share our best practices and guidance with OSHA to help ensure that the entire fireworks industry, nationwide, operates in a safe and healthy manner.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Henshaw, Mr. Lee Smith, Mr. Matt Chibbaro, and the entire OSHA Alliance team for their dedication and commitment to finalizing phase one of our collaborative projects: The amazing two posters that we see here on display today, addressing Display Operator safety and Retail Sales Tips for employees at consumer fireworks sales venues. The posters, along with the two guidance documents prepared to-date on these topics, demonstrate that the APA and OSHA are off to a terrific start under this new Alliance program to reinforce safety tips, and further educate employees in the fireworks industry. I am personally proud to be affiliated with these endeavors, as is the APA.