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


The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has launched a new campaign to address combustible dust, a potentially deadly industrial hazard.

The initiative – “Call to Action: Combustible Dust” – was announced on Wednesday and represents the Board’s latest attempt to prevent dust-related workplace explosions.

Combustible Dust Explosions Have Killed and Injured Hundreds of Workers

Among other things, the Board is seeking feedback from industry – as well as its workforce – regarding acceptable dust levels.

In addition, it’s asking stakeholders about the challenges they face meeting voluntary combustible dust standards.

The United States experienced 281 dust-related plant explosions between 1980 and 2005. Unfortunately, these incidents killed 119 workers and injured 718 others.

The country saw 105 additional incidents between 2006  2017. During that time, 5 explosions killed 27 workers and injured 51 others.

“While there is a shared understanding of the hazards of dust, our investigations have found that efforts to manage those hazards have often failed to prevent a catastrophic explosion,” Board interim executive Kristen Kulinowski said in a news release issued on Wednesday.

Trump Administration Abandoned Regulations that Could Prevent Combustible Dust Explosions

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proposed a combustible dust standard in 2008, after an explosion at the Imperial Sugar refinery outside of Savannah, Georgia killed 14 workers and injured dozens of others.

However, the Trump Administration abandoned the proposed combustible dust standard during the President’s first year in office.

The Chemical Safety Board first asked OSHA to adopt a standard in 2006 — two years before the Imperial Sugar disaster.

In the meantime, dust-related explosion have continued to kill and injure American workers. For that reason, the Board renewed its call in April.

So far, however, OSHA doesn’t appear interested in creating any new regulations in this area.

Our Undefeated Plant Explosion Lawyers Successfully Represented Workers Injured in the Imperial Sugar Combustible Dust Explosion

Our Undefeated Plant Explosion Lawyers won highly favorable, confidential settlements for 25 workers who were tragically injured and burned in the Imperial Sugar combustible dust explosion.

Sadly, the horrific injuries and deaths that resulted from that catastrophe were completely preventable. That’s because large amounts of combustible dust had accumulated throughout the plant and ignited the explosion.

“If the dust was not allowed to build up, this terrible accident would not have happened and we would not have had the terrible injuries that we saw,” CSB Chairman John Bresland said at the time.

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