Remember, New Jersey: Fireworks Are Hazardous Materials

Posted on 5/25/2018 by Roger Marks

This Memorial Day weekend, fireworks displays will be a major attraction at the shore and in communities state-wide.

Fireworks are fun, and they inspire wonder in children and adults alike. jersey-fireworks.jpgBut unlike other holiday necessities like hamburger buns, hot dogs, and paper plates, consumer fireworks are regulated as Division 1.4G explosives when transported on public roads—and for good reason.

See a full schedule of hazmat shipper and hazardous waste courses to meet Federal training mandates and build in-depth compliance expertise - only available in NJ! 

One needs to look no further than New Jersey’s own history for evidence of the dangers fireworks pose. From 1900 to 1930, 4,290 people lost their lives in fireworks accidents—more than were killed in the Revolutionary War, according to In 1937, the New Jersey legislature unanimously passed a measure to ban fireworks, which would remain in place for eighty years. 

(Pictured: The Times of Trenton

Relaxed New Jersey Fireworks Laws

In mid-2017, then New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed a measure to relax the state’s fireworks laws by legalizing the possession and sale of “non-explosive, “non-aerial” fireworks like sparklers and snappers.  

fireworks-lady.jpgOrganizations that put on permitted public fireworks displays that involve sky-bound fireworks should know the risks associated with the transport, storage, and use of these explosive devices. To limit the risk posed to the public from the transport of fireworks and other hazmat, US DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) maintains stringent regulations in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR).   

How to Ship Fireworks

Every hazmat shipment must include a shipping paper that accurately describes the payload. Fireworks are no different. A shipping paper must include:
  • The UN ID number for the material.
  • A Proper Shipping Name.
  • Hazard class or division and packing group (PG).
  • The quantity (in net explosive mass).
  • An EX number on the packaging or shipping paper.
  • The number and type of packages.
  • An emergency contact and telephone number.
Additional requirements come into play for large shipments of Division 1.4G fireworks (1,001 pounds or more), including:
  • A CDL-holding hazmat driver with a hazmat endorsement.
  • Proper placards on four sides of the vehicle (EXPLOSIVES, 1.4).
  • A security plan required for shippers and carriers that addresses transport risks, personnel security, en-route security, and unauthorized access.
  • A current hazmat registration certificate issued by PHMSA (for transporters/carriers).
PHMSA has prepared a guidance document for fireworks shippers and transporters here.

In 2015, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) shut down a fireworks hauler for creating an imminent public safety threat by transporting fireworks in plastic grocery bags and failing to comply with many of the hazmat requirements listed above.

2 Days, 2 Certificates—RCRA and DOT Hazmat Training in North Jersey

If you manage and ship hazardous waste or hazardous materials, you must know both the US EPA’s RCRA waste management rules and the US DOT’s rules for packaging, labeling, loading, and documenting shipments.

Join an expert Lion instructor on August 14–15 at our brand new Environmental Training Center in Sparta, NJ to update both your RCRA (40 CFR 262.17) and DOT hazmat (49 CFR 172.704) certifications with two-days of interactive, reliable hazardous waste and hazmat training trusted nationwide!
Enroll now to join experienced instructors and professionals and earn IHMM, LSRP, and NEHA credit when you attend next month.

Tags: explosives, fireworks, hazmat shipping, PHMSA, Shipping explosives

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