Spark Safety With Fireworks Precautions

OSHA guidelines offer protection for fireworks spectators and operators

July 3, 2019

Everyone enjoys a fireworks display. If you’re a maintenance manager or worker for an organization that hosts a Fourth of July fireworks display, you know the work that goes into making sure spectators and pyrotechnics operators stay safe. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued safety guidelines for before, during, and after fireworks displays.

Pre-display guidelines

  • Make sure pyrotechnics operators have licenses and permits from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Operators who fire pyrotechnics from harbors or waterways also need U.S. Coast Guard approval.
  • Obtain approval from the appropriate authorities to close roads or restrict access to the display site.
  • Arrange for fire service and emergency medical services workers to be on site during the display.
  • Obtain the required or appropriate insurance.

Display guidelines

  • Maintain crowd control, using monitors and/or barriers.
  • Ensure operators use all required personal protective equipment (PPE), especially for their eyes, ears, and feet. They also should wear long-sleeved and long-legged clothing made of cotton or other flame-resistant cloth.
  • Monitor the weather and crowd conditions to maintain safety.

Post-display guidelines

  • Ensure workers wear PPE appropriate for cleanup duties.
  • After waiting at least 15 minutes after the end of the display, conduct a search for leftover fireworks, following warning procedures for unexploded shells.
  • Ensure that all unused live product and duds are accounted for, properly handled, repackaged, and secured according to federal, state, and local regulations.
  • Conduct a second site search at first light the next morning.


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