CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is once again urging a federal agency to come up with regulations for dust at chemical plants like the one in Hancock County where three workers died in 2010 fire.
The CSB met in Charleston Wednesday and accepted the final investigative report and recommendations in connection with the fire at AL Solutions in New Cumberland.
The CSB has urged the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to come up with regulations since 2006 but nothing has been finalized. Investigative team Recommendation Specialist Chrissy Morgan said there must be a combustible dust safety standard.
“Issue a standard designed to prevent combustible dust fires and explosions in general industry. Base the standard on current National Fire Protection Association Dust Explosion Standards,” Morgan said.
The final report suggested blender equipment at the AL Solutions plant was defective and when powder from titanium and zirconium were created it resulted in the fire. The investigation showed a number of fires at the plant including a deadly blaze in 2006 but there were no OSHA dust inspections in response. Another worker was killed in a 1995 explosion.
AL Solutions paid nearly $200,000 in settlements to federal agencies investigating the latest fire. The company did not reopen the New Cumberland plant.
The Chemical Safety Board said the time for action by OHSA is now.
“It should be noted that this will be the first time in the history of the agency that the CSB has reiterated one of its previous safety recommendations,” Morgan said.