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BIE Safety Advisor | July 2024

Lisa Ramirez | June 27, 2024

Extending Health and Safety Beyond the Workplace

Safety doesn’t stop once you leave the jobsite; we need to bring that safety attitude with us on the roads, when we are running errands, during leisure activities, at home and during all seasons of the year, winter, spring, summer, and fall.

Summer is synonymous with barbecues, parades, and fireworks. The National Safety Council advises everyone to enjoy fireworks at public displays conducted by professionals, and not to use any fireworks at home. They may be legal, but they are not safe.

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, in 2022, 11 people died and more than 10,200 were injured badly enough to require hospitalization after fireworks-related incidents. The leading age group for injuries was 25-44 years of age.

About 7,400 of these injuries, roughly 73 percent, took place between June 17 and July 17. And while the majority of these incidents were due to amateurs attempting to use professional-grade, homemade or other illegal fireworks or explosives, an estimated 1,300 injuries were from less powerful devices like small firecrackers. Sparkers accounted for 600 injuries.

The body parts most often injured by fireworks were hands and fingers (29 percent);  head, face, and ears (19 percent); legs (19 percent), and eyes (16 percent). Burns accounted for 38 percent of all fireworks injuries that required emergency room treatment.

If You Use Legal Fireworks

If consumer fireworks are legal where you live and you choose to use them, be sure to follow these safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use fireworks only under close adult supervision
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
  • Never light fireworks indoors
  • Use fireworks away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Never ignite devices in a container
  • Do not attempt to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire
  • Never use illegal fireworks

Better yet, grab a blanket and a patch of lawn, kick back and let the experts handle the fireworks show.

Sparklers are Dangerous Too

Every year, young children can be found along parade routes and at festivals with sparklers in hand, but sparklers are a lot more dangerous than most people think.

Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers can quickly ignite clothing, and children have received severe burns from dropping sparklers on their feet.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers alone account for more than 25 percent of emergency room visits for fireworks injuries. For children under 5 years of age, sparklers accounted for nearly half of the total estimated injuries.

Consider using safer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers or colored streamers.

For more information visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov.

Prepared and edited by Michael Ballantine, Occupational Safety Consultants, www.WorkRiskFree.com