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U.S. Chemical Safety Board Seeks Input to Prevent Deadly Combustible Dust Explosions


The U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s campaign to reduce plant explosions and other industrial accidents associated with combustible dust is well underway.

In fact, the effort is approaching a key deadline, as comments in response to the “Call to Action: Combustible Dust” are due by November 26th.

Specifically, the Board needs input from plant workers and other stakeholders regarding the management and control of this potentially deadly threat.

Combustible Dust Explosions Have Killed 136 American Workers Since 1980

Combustible dust has been responsible for some of the worst plant explosions in recent memory.

The Chemical Safety Board, for example, announced its “Call to Action” in response to a disastrous explosion at the Didion Milling plant in Cambria, Wisconsin that tragically killed 5 workers and injured more than a dozen others in May 2017.

Investigators from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined that the blast likely resulted from Didion’s failure to correct the leakage and accumulation of highly combustible grain dust throughout the facility.

According to the Chemical Safety Board, the United States experienced 281 dust-related plant explosions between 1980 and 2005, in which 119 workers died and 718 were injured.

An additional 105 incidents occurred in the United States from 2006 through 2017, including 5 combustible dust explosions that killed 27 workers and injured 51 others.

Trump Abandoned Regulatory Efforts on Combustible Dust

OSHA did propose a combustible dust standard in 2008, following a deadly explosion at the Imperial Sugar refinery outside of Savannah, Georgia.

Unfortunately, however, the agency removed the standard from its regulatory agenda shortly after President Trump assumed office in 2017.

Our Undefeated Plant Explosion Lawyers represented 25 of the workers burned in the Imperial Sugar explosion, and were able to negotiate highly-favorable, confidential settlements on their behalf.

Efforts to Manage Combustible Dust Often Fail to Prevent Explosions

With regulations stalled, the Chemical Safety Board launched its “Call to Action” to determine why efforts to manage combustible dust so often fail to prevent catastrophic explosions.

Among other things, the Board’s is seeking stakeholder feedback on 11 key questions, including:

  • A “safe” level of dust.
  • Improving worker recognition of dust hazards.
  • How to measure a “clean” facility.
  • Frequency of dust-related fires that do not result in explosions.
  • The best way stakeholders can share information about dust hazards.
  • Measures to prevent combustible dust incidents.

The Board will review all stakeholder comments submitted to [email protected] by November 26, 2018.

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