A FIREWORKS festival starting in Macau next weekend has been slammed by labour activists who cite hundreds of deaths caused by explosions in fireworks factories each year. Macau authorities hope Hong Kong tourists will return to the trouble-fraught enclave to see the shows, to be staged at weekends between September 12 and October 5 at Praia Grande Bay. Ten national teams will compete for the US$10,000 (HK$77,300) in prize money awarded for the most spectacular display. A Macau Government spokesman said each team represented a fireworks production company from a particular country and they would bring their own fireworks with them. But Confederation of Trade Unions chairman Lee Cheuk-yan said organisers should consider the health and safety records of fireworks factories before hosting displays. 'They should make sure the crackers are manufactured in a safe way, without exploiting child labour,' Mr Lee said. During the past year, at least 110 people have been killed while making, selling or freighting fireworks - almost all of them on the mainland. And an estimated 60,000 people wide are injured by fireworks, again usually while making or transporting them. Labour researcher Cheng Kar-wai, of the Christian Industrial Committee, said most mainland fireworks factories were state-owned but sub-contracted to rural co-ops or individuals. Since 1996, China has stopped building new fireworks factories and moved operations out of urban areas, after numerous disasters in the early 1990s. But illegal operators and sub-contractors continue their trade in rural areas. Mr Cheng said Macau organisers should ensure products come from a reputable and safe source, but admitted that tracing manufacturing history was difficult. 'The fireworks factories are not so obvious now, it's become harder to trace and monitor,' he said. 'So how can you expect the user to be the judge or police? They don't know the factory, they can't certify whether the production was safe or not.' Fireworks displays should be limited until users could force a 'guarantee' from suppliers and makers that production was safe, and Beijing should stop unregulated sub-contracting and open the factories to scrutiny, he said. Human Rights Monitor's Law Yuk-kai said organisers should 'consider whether the celebrations are justified'. 'All consumers must consider that the production of that kind of material costs human lives and causes unnecessary suffering,' he said. 'They have a moral obligation to find a better alternative - either to buy from a manufacturer who pays more attention to safety in production, or if the practice definitely involves high risk, they should drop the idea,' he said.