Fireworks Safety And Transportation

Mush current legislation is based on concepts derived from the United Nations recommendations for the Transport of Dangerous Goods (often referred to as the “orange book”). Although these recommendations are not mandatory, they are widely accepted and fairly widely understood. The fundamental problem with using the recommendations for general legislation is that they address only the hazard of materials in their state for transport. For fireworks theist usually means packaged, and does not (and indeed cannot and should not) address their storage, use or manufacture. It is in these areas that legislation based on the UN scheme of classification of dangerous goods breaks down.

The UN recommendations classify all explosives in one of the following groups:

1 .  Those packages that pose a mass explosion hazard.

2 .  Those packages that pose a projectile hazard.

3 .  Those packages that pose a hazard from fiery projections.

4 .  Those packages that pose only a limited hazard.

5 .  Extremely insensitive substances that pose a mass explosion hazard.

6 .  Articles containing extremely insensitive substances that do not have a mass explosion hazard.

   Furthermore, the united nations assigns a compatibility group to packaged goods, and defines which compatibility groups may be packaged or transported together. The result of testing assigns any item to a particular hazard group, and compatibility group, and the item as presented is then assigned a four digit UN number, which identifies both the hazard of a particular packaged item and its correct shipping name. thus all fireworks are assigned one of the following UN number:

0333 ( 1.1G ) Fireworks that pose a mass explosion risk.

0334 ( 1.2G ) Fireworks that pose a projectile risk.

0335 ( 1.3G ) Fireworks that pose a fiery projectile risk.

0336 ( 1.4G ) Fireworks that pose a low risk.

0337 ( 1.4S ) Fireworks that pose a very limited risk.

    It is essential to understand that the assignment of a particular firework package into one of the five groups above is critically dependent on the packaging of that item.

Table 11.1 shows a hypothetical example on how 75mm maroon (salute) shells could be assigned to any of the five UN numbers if packaged in particular ways.

                   Table 11.1

  UN Hazard   Packaging    Comments
1.1   G (0333) Say 75 X maroons in an extremely strong walled box. There is the possibility of sympathetic

Detonation in this case.

1.2 G (0334) Say 75 X maroons in a metal

“ammunition box”

It is possible that the explosive fragmentation

Of the box will lead to metallic fragments of

Sufficient size and energy to force assignment

Into this hazard class.

1.3 G (0335) Say 75X maroons in a

Fiberboard box.

In this case it is possible that the action of one maroon bursting will project fragments of the other maroons in such a way as to cause assignment into this hazard class.
1.4 G (0336) A single maroon in a

Fiberboard box

In this case the hazard will be very local to

The box.

1.4 S (0337) A single maroon in an

“elephant” sized box.

With a large enough box the effect of the maroon busting will be confined within the box itself, thus leading to assignment into this hazard class.

In general most fireworks fall into either the 1.3G (0335) or 1.4G (0336) classifications.

Table 11.1 shows that it is pointless to try to define which fireworks are suitable for consumer use by using hazard classifications.  Although it is undoubtedly true that more powerful fireworks are likely to have greater classifications (e.g. 1.3G rather than 1.4G), careful packaging can reduce the hazard. Indeed, there are several ongoing trials which attempt to legitimately classify even large shells as 1.4G by using wire-mesh lined fiberboard boxes.

In addition, the UN recommendations define, in the most general terms, the types of packaging that are suitable for the carriage of all dangerous goods, and explosives and fireworks in particular. This leads to the assignment of a UN mark (not to be confused with the UN hazard code) to a particular package that has been tested to be suitable for transport of a particular item of combination of items.

This may appear to be a classic “chicken and egg” paradox. You need to have a suitable package, that is certified to bold a particular hazard type, in which to test the item to assign it that hazard type. Fortunately, most regulatory authorities have agreed methods by which this paradox may be overcome.

The basis of the UN recommendations for fireworks is that if packaged in a suitable way, the hazards arising from accidental ignition of a package are reasonably well defined and understood. Theist is particularly important for the emergency services in case of an accident. They need to be able to assess the frisk of attempting to control the incident.


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