Chemical Safety Board moves to act on combustible dust

Chemical Safety Board moves to act on combustible dust

Source: The Charletston Gazette (WV), October 25, 2018
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After years of urging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to act to prevent combustible dust explosions and fires, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board is asking for feedback about the management and control of combustible dust.

Specifically, the call comes as the CSB is investigating a May 2017 explosion at the Didion Milling facility in Wisconsin, which killed five employees.

The CSB announced the “Call to Action: Combustible Dust” Wednesday morning. The call is out to anyone who works around dust, including inspectors and workers.

“With this publication, the CSB aims to spearhead actionable dialogue between industry, regulator, workforce, and others to achieve safety improvements in the management and control of combustible dust beyond regulatory promulgation,” the CSB said in the announcement.

The CSB is an independent, nonregulatory agency tasked with investigating the root cause of chemical incidents. It’s also tasked with proposing ways to prevent future ones.

In the call to action, the CSB asks for feedback about what constitutes an acceptable dust level, as well as challenges in maintaining industry standards, among other things.

There were 281 combustible dust incidents between 1980 and 2005, according to a report released in 2006. According to CSB data, there were 105 combustible dust incidents between 2006 and 2017.

In December 2010, three people were killed by a fire and explosion at AL Solutions, a metals recycling plant in Hancock County. In the report, the CSB found the facility didn’t have a dust collection system and said it showed the need for a federal standard. The explosion mirrored numerous other combustible dust workplace disasters.

Under the Obama administration, OSHA said it would act on the CSB’s recommendations to implement a combustible dust standard, but it never did.

“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,” interim CSB executive Kristen Kulinowski said in a news release.

Comments may be sent to combust until Nov. 26.

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