Friday, June 20, 2003

Dust to Ashes

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) held a public hearing Wednesday to present preliminary findings of its investigation into the catastrophic explosion at West Phamaceuticals last January.
West Pharmaceutical Services created conditions for the deadly blast at its Kinston plant by installing a suspended ceiling that allowed explosive dust to build up out of sight, federal investigators said at a public hearing Wednesday night.

The explosion, which killed six people and injured three dozen others, was strong enough to buckle six-inch-thick concrete floors, fling walls and create a column of black smoke visible for miles. The plant was left a peeled skeleton.
The CSB is also investigating another explosion caused by dust at a factory in Corbin, KY that killed 7 workers.

OSHA has a regulation to prevent grain dust explosions, but otherwise does not address the hazards of explosive dusts. Some experts fear that we may be seeing more catastrophic dust explosions becauses advances in technology are resulting in finer and more explosive dust particles.

More information on the West meeting here, here, here, here and here.