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Post no. 43 (Nar)

October 9, 2010

After a never ending day of back breaking work and mind numbing chores I trickled wearily on to the sofa to assay a few moments of televisual entertainment … Or I could have simply said that before I went to bed I flopped in front of the telly 🙂

I zapped around a bit and came across a programme called Nar (Maltese for fire and/or fireworks) on Net Television. It airs Thursdays nine-ish. Unfortunately there is no link to the programme or the TV station. But then again, what would you expect from a political party? Let’s cut to the chase.

This is a seventeen part series probably intended to familiarise the public with the fireworks industry. I imagine that part of the raison d’être of this series is to resuscitate the love between the general public and fireworks afficionados – a relationship which has soured considerably this year, following the spate of factory explosions.

Watching the first “episode” left me speechless. My first reaction was “If this is their m.o., how come only 5 factories exploded this year?” [A couple of weeks after writing Post no. 39, a fifth fireworks factory – in Għarb, Gozo – exploded, killing 6 people.]

In between several nodding-offs I noticed the following:

a) No earthing of any sort was visible anywhere

b) a stainless steel-looking sort of mill did not seem to have any sort of “protection” from metal to metal sparks

c) plastic cups (clothes powder detergent type jobs) were used to transfer powder from paper sacks (directly on the floor) onto a stainless steel balance pan. Static anyone? To really make matters worse, the person weighing the powder was shaking the container, to increase the chances of charging either the powder or the container

d) No PPE of any sort was visible anywhere. At one point a factory employee dipped his gloveless hand into a sack of carbon. He then proceeded to dip his hand into a sack of potassium nitrate. [ I KNOW they won’t react like that, but my point is that this man just kept dipping his hand in assorted bags of coloured powder. What if is hands were sweaty? Not to mention absorption of some chemicals through the skin.]

e) Safety footwear = flip-flops

f) Despite repeated mentions of “Pajjarins” I did not see a single fire extinguisher. Before you rush to point out the futility of a fire extinguisher in a fireworks factory, I would like to bring it to your attention that a tiny fire may be put out with a fire extinguisher, which would prevent a tragedy from happening.

g) None of the persons claiming to be working at the fireworks factories shown struck me as a “chemist type”

A colleague at work passed a very shrewd remark the following day. He told me that what we saw on television was probably the bees’  knees for these people. They put on a “holier than thou” show to impress the viewing public. Only God knows what they do when nobody’s watching, and who goes there.

I’ll follow this series with considerable interest. I’m sure they’ll be hoist with their own petard. Ha ha. (Would you have stopped yourself from saying that? Like hell you would!)


From → Misfires

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