New Push for Stronger Dust Rules

Friday, January 6, 2012 @ 04:01 PM gHale

New safety rules need to come out within the next year to help prevent combustible-dust accidents after such incidents killed several workers in Gallatin last year and Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is pushing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to get those rules published.

A final report released Thursday detailing the agency’s investigation of three fires at the Hoeganaes iron powder manufacturing plant in Gallatin that killed five workers last year. The three fires at the Hoeganaes facility occurred in January, March and May 2011.

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The safety board said new, tougher OSHA standards should include safety measures to control metal dust such as the materials associated with the Gallatin accidents.

“As I have said on numerous occasions, I believe that worker safety is a basic human right,” said board Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso. “No worker should die or be severely injured simply trying to earn a living and provide for their families.”

The CSB will track whether the safety recommendations in the final report end up implemented.

“We are prepared to tell the public if actions were taken or not, and that is part of what we do,” Moure-Eraso said.

Effective immediately, the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration will implement one recommendation made to the agency by the Chemical Safety Board, which was to add the industry code for companies such as Hoeganaes to its Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program list, TOSHA Assistant Administrator Steve Hawkins said Thursday.

That means combustible dust is on the general checklist of any TOSHA inspector who visits the Gallatin facility or another factory like it.

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