Web Date: January 5, 2012
More Combustible Dust Deaths
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 report, along with a video, was released 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 two other workers in March 2011, and a May 27, 2011, dust explosion killed three more workers. The board found combustible dust piled up to four inches deep at the factory in an environment that used hydrogen and found that the facility 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.
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
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