State changes fireworks regulations to increase safety
Friday, July 2, 2010 - 5:20 pm

In preparation for the Fourth of July and other outdoor events, the state Department of Labor is highlighting some big changes to state laws about fireworks and pyrotechnics.

The changes expand local governments' authority to issue fireworks permits for private events like weddings and parties. The changes also address various safety issues to better protect people and property.

"Fireworks displays are an enjoyable part of summer, but they must be carried out safely in order to protect the public," said State Labor Commissioner Colleen Gardner.

"These new regulations are designed to protect public safety by being sure that those putting on fireworks displays have the proper authority, training and insurance."

The law regulating fireworks (Penal Law section 405.00) was changed to allow local governments to issue permits for private fireworks displays.

Increased safety and public protection measures include the following:

• The pyrotechnics operator in charge of the display must have state certification;

• New regulations with modern safety standards replace outdated ones; and

• The minimum bond or insurance amount required by the permit authority has increased from $5,000 to $1,000,000

The Commissioner of Labor is responsible for the new state safety requirements.

Under the new rules, a single-state-certified pyrotechnician is to be in charge of each display as the designated operator. This operator is responsible for making sure that the display meets the standards of NFPA 1123. The operator also must authorize and supervise everyone else who works on the display as "authorized assistants." Authorized assistants who work under the certified operator may also be certified pyrotechnicians. If needed, they can take over the role of certified operator.

Authorized assistants who are not certified can only work under the supervision of the certified operator.

To become an authorized assistant, a person must be:

• At least 18 years old;

• Trained in how to perform the assigned tasks; and

• Educated about safety hazards

The certified operators must make sure a person meets these points before making them an authorized assistant.

For the full text of these rules, see Penal Law section 405.00 and General Business Law Article 28-D, as amended by Laws of 2009, Chapter 57, Part CC, at sections 16-21, page 61; and implementing regulations published at 12 NYCRR Part 61.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the New York State Department of Labor at 457-2735. You may also e-mail industry.dosh@labor.ny.gov.

For more information, visit readme.readmedia.com/Summer-Brings-Changes-to-NYS-Fireworks-Regulations/1569113