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Worker injured in North Myrtle Beach's 4th of July fireworks show

All jobs have some risk of injury, but fireworks technicians have to contend with a higher degree of danger because they’re working with explosives. That fact may have been driven home to you recently when a man was injured by a large shell which prematurely exploded about six minutes into North Myrtle Beach’s Independence Day fireworks show this year.

According to a spokesperson for the fireworks company, the worker’s injuries were not life threatening. The explosion apparently caused a serious laceration and required immediate treatment, however, and he was taken to a local medical center where he was treated and released the same night.

“Fireworks are dangerous and they’re unpredictable,” said the spokesperson. “Accidents do happen. He did get hurt due to a malfunctioning shell.” He declined to provide additional details on the injured worker or the cause of the explosion, citing the ongoing investigation by the North Myrtle Beach Fire Department. If his injuries were serious, however, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration might be called in to investigate the incident and the company’s overall safety practices.

The explosion also blew a 2-by-3-foot hole in the pier. Other than the hole and damage to about four feet of railing, no other damage was reported.

Even when occupations are subject to considerable risk, employers are required to make workplaces reasonably safe for their workers. However, under workers’ compensation law in North Carolina and most states, injured workers aren’t required to show their employer was negligent in order to obtain benefits. In part, the purpose of the workers’ compensation system is to eliminate needless lawsuits over workplace safety. Instead, injured workers are simply covered by insurance whenever they are injured while performing legitimate job duties in good will.

Hopefully, the injured fireworks technician will recover quickly and fully. That said, do you know the safest way to get rid of a large number of potentially defective fireworks after an accident closes the show? You shoot them off, of course.

Source: The Charlotte Observer, “Worker injured, Cherry Grove Pier damaged in North Myrtle Beach fireworks show explosion,” Tonya Root, July 5, 2013

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