Board Calls For Dust Regulations | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 90 Issue 2 | p. 28 | Concentrates
Issue Date: January 9, 2012

Board Calls For Dust Regulations

Department: Government & Policy
Keywords: combustible dust, OSHA, CSB

Three industrial combustible dust accidents that killed five workers and seriously injured three over five months last year at a Tennessee manufacturer were entirely preventable and underscore the need for national dust regulations, concludes an investigative report by the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). The board released the report, along with a video, on Jan. 5 at a press conference in Gallatin, Tenn., near the Hoeganaes facility where the accidents occurred. The facility manufactures a fine (45–150 µm) iron powder used to make parts for the auto industry. It employs 180 workers and is owned by GKN, a U.K. engineering firm. The facility has a history of combustible dust problems, CSB notes. It apparently continued operating with no improvement in safety after a Jan. 31, 2011, dust explosion killed two maintenance workers, a dust-related accident injured one other worker in March 2011, and a May 27, 2011, dust explosion killed three and injured two more workers. The board found combustible dust piled up to four inches deep at the factory in an environment that used hydrogen. CSB said the facility operators even flared the explosive gas inside the plant. Among its recommendations, CSB urges OSHA to propose a national combustible dust standard for U.S. industries within one year.

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