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Fireworks factory explosions injure, kill workers

Arizona residents may choose to buy certain types of fireworks to celebrate an occasion, and if the local laws permit, may set them off. This means that Arizona, like other states, has fireworks retailers selling these products. Other Arizona companies make their income by offering professional displays throughout the state.

Of course, some company somewhere has to manufacture these fireworks, and that can involve risk to company employees -- the same risk employees' face when they handle any explosive as part of their job. Safety is key to preventing factory accidents and other on-the-job injuries. One can argue that any employee who works with fireworks, either in a factory, a wholesale warehouse or a retailer, faces certain hazards.

In another state, three workers suffered serious burns after a fireworks factory explosion. Federal officials with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration later cited the factory for several major safety violations involving the factory's overseeing and handling both the explosives and other flammable liquids. The factory had been cited previously. For these violations, the factory will pay $116,900.

To some extent, this factory is lucky. A recent series of explosions at an Indian fireworks factory killed at least 40 workers.

This is not to suggest that fireworks would pose any more danger to employees in Arizona's factories than other explosives would. Particularly when companies do not follow established safety regulations, employees are more likely to sustain serious on-the-job injuries from explosions and fires.

Fortunately, Arizona's workers' compensation system is available to compensate employees when accidents like these do occur. Because Arizona's system is "no fault," a worker need only show that his or her injuries happened in connection with his or her line of work to be eligible for compensation.

Source: KSDK, "Global Pyrotechnic Solutions Explosion: Citations for Fireworks Safety," Kevin Held, Sept. 5, 2012

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