Safety and OSHA News

When the workweek is over, the real danger begins

Fire departments and hospital emergency rooms are gearing up for what might be the most dangerous day of the year.

Most weeks, your goal is to send employees home safely. This weekend, the bigger concern might be whether they’ll be able to get back to work OK.

Fireworks will be everywhere. A new report from the National Fire Protection Association illuminates the dangers.

In 2008, 7,000 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. The same year, 22,500 reported fires were started by fireworks, causing $42 million in property damage.

And no surprise: July 4 is by far the biggest day of the year for fireworks-related fires, with July 5 and July 3 as the first and second runners-up.

Note that we’re not talking about black-market explosives manufactured and sold illegally. In ’08, 84% of emergency room fireworks injuries were caused by items permitted by federal regs.

Evereybody’s vulnerable, but the highest injury rates are for teens between 15 and 19 and children between 5 and 9.

No safe fireworks

Additionally, the report argues that so-called safe-and-sane fireworks, like sparklers, are neither safe nor sane. Sparklers, fountains, and other “safer” novelties accounted for 32% of those emergency room injuries in 2008.

The group’s advice:

  • Don’t use consumer fireworks
  • The only safe fireworks displays are public shows conducted by professionals, and
  • When the show’s over, make sure no one, especially children, picks up leftover fireworks. They may still be active.
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