Accidents from Fireworks Manufacturing Increase as the Lunar New Year Approaches

January 24, 2005

Fireworks manufacturing ranks among the most dangerous jobs in China. Although Chinese government officials have been embarrassed in the past by notorious incidents such as the 2001 explosion in a school that killed dozens, a tougher approach may be on the way. After a series of deadly fireworks explosions at factories in the last two years, for example, the county magistrate in Xiangfen County, Shanxi, ordered the factory manager arrested, according to an account in Beijing News.

According to this article from the BBC Asia Pacific news service, fireworks production increases as the Lunar New Year holidays approach each year, accompanied by an increase in accidents. Small unregulated factories – sometimes in people’s homes – produce most of China’s fireworks.

The Chinese press has been less reluctant than in the past to report fireworks-related accidents, but while increased press attention might help improve safety standards, government agencies still find it hard to control fireworks manufacturing. A key problem is that most of the people who make fireworks are too poor to turn down this type of dangerous job.