Fireworks companies must comply with stringent rules and regulations
Many people have fond memories of watching fireworks as children. The excitement of the loud explosions and lights sailing through the heavens thrills people of all ages. Some are lucky enough to sustain their passion for fireworks into adulthood by owning or operating fireworks companies.
As with any business, it is important to look before you leap and pay attention to the important details of operating a business in order to avoid daily frustrations and the pitfalls that may keep your company from soaring with success. This is especially so when starting or purchasing a fireworks business.
A fireworks company, like most business ventures, will go through various stages as it develops and grows. From the time of purchasing or starting your new company, it is vitally important to recognize the requirements at each step of the way.
- Planning: From its inception, flesh out the details of your business plan. How will you distinguish your services from your competitors? Establish a detailed marketing, financial and expansion plan with the help of a trusted professional. Accurately assessing your opportunities will help clarify the viability of your business.
- Location, location, location: The fireworks industry is heavily regulated by federal, state and municipal rules and regulations. Local laws vary and it is important to check with the fire department and any city zoning and planning officials before choosing the location for your business. Different rules also apply to retail operations versus manufacturing.
- Permits and licensing: Fireworks businesses have specific insurance, transportation, employment and administrative law requirements. Additionally, depending on your location, you may need special documents such as a resale permit or a transport certification for hazardous materials.
The U.S. Labor Department (DOL) recently investigated a large fireworks company with outlet stores and seasonal tents in Indiana. The department found numerous violations of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations regarding employees who work with hazardous materials. Employees under the age of 18 routinely worked around and near fireworks in violation of child labor laws, subjecting the company to tens of thousands of dollars in fines.
The FLSA applies strict rules to businesses that deal with hazardous materials. Eighteen is the minimum age for those who are employed in hazardous occupations - as defined by the DOL - and manufacturing or storing fireworks falls within that definition. The restriction also applies to parents who employ their own children.
Consult a fireworks lawyer
If you manufacture, import or export, sell or otherwise work in the fireworks industry, it is important to consult an experienced fireworks attorney. A lawyer knowledgeable about legal and regulatory issues with fireworks companies - as well as defending fireworks injury claims - can help.