Regulation gives flexibility to fireworks certification

Almost all fireworks are made overseas, so one of the largest impediments for the industry has been getting permits to let their products enter and move around the country.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) approves about 22,000 fireworks each year, but the industry has long complained that the process is too tedious and time consuming.

Federal regulators agreed, and in the new rule PHMSA declared that “there is an unnecessary delay” in the current system.

The agency’s new rule would allow outside institutions to certify new fireworks, which would serve as an alternative to federal regulators.

After being approved by PHMSA, an outside fireworks certifier would be able to check consumer pyrotechnics before they can be shipped and sold. The third-party certifiers would have to keep records and file reports with the federal government.

New certifiers must meet specific criteria to determine they are unbiased and impartial, have their facility inspected by PHMSA and have their certification procedure approved.

The new approval system should speed up the process and help give fireworks manufacturers and importers more certainty about upcoming orders, the agency said in its rule. PHMSA expects that manufacturers sending their products to the U.S. right before peak periods, such as July 4, will be most likely to use the new system.

PHMSA proposed the new method of approving fireworks last summer, and the rule goes into effect in 30 days.