Jasper Groeneveld Commercial Director’ Lesli Vuurwerk’ and ‘Lesli Silvesterzauber’ discusses.
Liuyang in China is the region that produces more fireworks than anywhere else in the world. During a visit to one of the many fireworks factories in this area a factory boss told me; “We can produce with ‘CE,’ we’re all ready for it!” CE being the compliance with EU legislation of a product, wherever in the world it is manufactured.
I took a look around and saw a very average fireworks factory and just like in nearly all the other factories in Liuyang, the fireworks are produced by hand. In this case by ladies who were not as young as they once were. In the workshops they work hard to make the fantastic products that we sell. They roll the tubes by hand, they close the tubes by hand and they fill the tubes by hand. The ladies usually work 5 days a week, but the factory boss told me that in the peak season they often have to work 7 days.
When the Pyro-guidelines came into force in 2007, everything seemed fine. We were eager to start implementing them and were all optimistic about the future. However, nearly 7 years later I now have a lot of doubts about the application of ‘CE’ on fireworks.
The Pyro-guidelines contain so called ‘essential safety requirements’ that are there to help protect people and the environment. Of course this is very important for every firework professional in the field. If these Pyro-guidelines were the only measure, everything would be fine. But then came the standards in 2010.
These standards are the specific rules that fireworks must comply with. Strict regulations that are for example related to powder weight, shooting height, flight direction and a thousand other things. Fireworks may only carry the ‘CE’ mark if they meet those exact standards.
Such strict regulations look good on paper, but in practice it is very difficult to implement them. The ladies in this particular factory were for example smiling and laughing at a joke a colleague of mine made. A distraction. It is very possible that the product they were working on at that very moment will fail for CE because of this, distraction. Humans are not machines.
I sighed as this thought came into my mind and asked the factory boss in which factory he would produce the ‘CE’ items. He looked at me surprised and answered “In this factory, of course!”