A Pennsylvania fireworks manufacturer will pay nearly $15,000 in fines for serious safety violations, some of which resulted in a blast that caused a worker to suffer an accidental amputation of both her hands.
The accidental amputation occurred at the Celebrations Fireworks plant in Slatington, Pennsylvania, on June 30. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which investigated the company in response to the accident, said that a worker was inserting a match fuse into a fireworks charge when the product detonated.
According to LehighValleyLive.com, OSHA documents say “the fireworks exploded and both of the employee’s hands were amputated.” The agency did not identify the worker, but LehighVallyLive.com reports that a female employee of the company suffered the accidental amputation.
A Dec. 29 report by LehighValleyLive.com quotes the company president as saying the employee who suffered the hand amputation continues to recover in the hospital but is expected to be released soon.
According to the company’s website, Celebration Fireworks is a “fireworks display company” that specializes in shows that synchronize pyrotechnics displays with music. The company arranges fireworks displays for community events, holiday festivals, corporate events, and weddings.
OSHA initially hit Celebration Fireworks with more than $21,000 in fines after the accidental amputation, but the penalties were reduced to $14,831 after settlement negotiations.
The fines were issued for 10 serious safety violations OSHA inspectors found at the plant concerning the safe handling of explosive materials and employee training.
In recent years, OSHA has urged the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry “to be vigilant in protecting workers from hazards while manufacturing, storing, transporting, displaying and selling fireworks for public events” and to “consider the safety of workers who handle pyrotechnics.”
In March 2016, OSHA cited Alabama fireworks manufacturer Ultratec Special Effects for 15 safety violations that contributed to past explosion at the plant, including a February 2015 blast that killed two workers and injured four others. OSHA regulators found the majority of the violations posed a direct threat to worker health and safety and that the company had been cited for some of the same violations in the past.