Big fine for Perth fireworks company

Fireworks company fined $34,000 after pleading guilty to dangerous goods charges
Date: Tuesday, 09 September 2014

Investigation by the Department of Mines and Petroleum uncovered serious safety breaches  

A Western Australian fireworks company has been fined $34,000 for the unsafe storage, supply and management of fireworks.

Cardile International Fireworks Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to a string of charges in Perth Magistrate’s Court yesterday following an investigation by the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s (DMP) Resources Safety Division.

The investigation found the company had breached a number of safeguards relating to the storage and supply of dangerous goods.

DMP’s Dangerous Goods and Petroleum Safety Director Ross Stidolph said officers from the department inspected the company’s storage area at the Baldivis Explosives Reserve in late 2012 and conducted a follow up inspection in early 2013.

“The inspection uncovered some serious breaches,” Mr Stidolph said.

“Incompatible substances and goods, such as loose black powder, nails, screws and aerosol cans containing flammable gases were stored incorrectly with the fireworks.”

Black powder is an explosive which is sensitive to friction, sparks and electrostatic discharge.

Mr Stidolph said black powder and other incompatible goods stored with fireworks presents an increased risk of explosion.

“In one box, black powder was loose amongst various items within the box,” he said.

“The combination of the large exposed surface area of the black powder and objects such as a nail, electric matches used to ignite fireworks and a plastic cylinder created a significant hazard.

“Sparks, friction and electrostatic discharge could easily have been produced and ignited the black powder. If the black powder had ignited, a mass explosion involving the entire contents of the magazine was a very real possibility.”

Over 25 kg of loose black powder was seized from two of the Cardile International Fireworks explosive storage buildings on the explosives reserve.

Mr Stidolph said the court’s decision sent an important message to companies storing, handling and managing dangerous goods.

“All companies working with dangerous goods need to take their responsibilities to safety seriously,” Mr Stidolph said.

“Notably, Cardile International Fireworks has now made significant improvements to its storage, handling and record keeping practices and is committed to achieving and maintaining regulatory compliance.”