SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The US Chemical Safety Board, which is involved in the investigation in the February 7 refinery explosion and fire in Port Wentworth, will send a member to testify before members of Congress Wednesday.
Member William E. Wright will testify before the US House of Representatives Education and Labor Committee on H.R. 5522, The Combustible Dust Explosion and Fire Prevention Act of 2008. He will also provide an update on the CSB's investigation of the Port Wentworth explosion.
According to a release issued by the CSB:
In 2004 the CSB initiated the Combustible Dust Hazard Study, which identified 281 combustible dust incidents between 1980 and 2005 that killed 119 workers and injured 718. The study examines 7 catastrophic dust explosions:
- West Pharmaceuticals, Kinston, NC, January 29, 2003: 6 deaths, dozens of injuries
- CTA Acoustics, Corbin, KY, February 20, 2003: 7 deaths and 37 injuries
- Hayes Lemmerz, Huntington, IN, October 29, 2003: 1 death and 2 injuries
- Rouse Polymerics, Vicksburg, MS, May 16, 2002: 5 deaths and 7 injuries
- Jahn Foundry, Springfield, MA, February 25, 1999: 3 deaths and 9 injuries
- Ford River Rouge, Dearborn MI, February 1, 1999: 6 deaths and 36 injuries
- Malden Mills, Methuen, MA, December 11, 1995: 37 injuries
The CSB's nationwide study, issued in November of 2006, found that there is no U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard that comprehensively addresses combustible dust explosion hazards in general industry. As a result, the Board voted to recommend that OSHA issue a new national regulatory standard designed to prevent combustible dust fires and explosions.
The Port Wentworth blast resulted in dozens of injuries and 12 deaths. Eight patients remain in critical condition and three in serious at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta.