A fire broke out during the handling of firework stars in a production facility devoted to recreational fireworks. A technician was transporting a 20-kg container of stars, used to produce fireworks rockets, from the car into the small (6 m x 4 m) workshop. The second employee, on hand to assist with this handling operation, was held up on the phone. One of the container’s 2 handles broke off, causing it to fall onto the floor. The shock due to this dropped container triggered ignition of the material. The fire spread to the shop, which was eventually destroyed in part. Seriously burned as a result of his clothes catching on fire, the 36-year-old technician died a few days later.
Experts recall the hazards associated with handling tasks and the importance of characterising, in great depth, all products implemented during operations in order to understand their sensitivity to various types of aggressions.
The judicial investigation exposed some safety shortcomings within the company, citing in particular: the lack of a safety plan and certified containers, noncompliant storage rated value, materials whose level of hazard prohibited transport and necessitated working with quantities of 5 kg max. The lack of any formalised training for technicians was also noted. The operator was sentenced on 26th January, 1998 to a fine of 20,000 francs and 18 months in prison with probation for manslaughter and infraction of regulations.