Friday, November 7, 2008

Grain Facility ComDust Fires and Explosions

Since the Destrehan, Louisiana grain elevator explosion two weeks ago that put the ADM/Growmark's largest export terminal in Louisiana out of service, through media accounts, eight additional grain facility combustible dust related fires and explosions occurred throughout the nation. The financial damage from these events has totaled over $200,000 and luckily no injuries.

So is the OSHA grain facility standard working? It is not possible for OSHA with limited resources to inspect thousands of these grain handling facilities ensuring workplace safety compliance. Will it take a dust explosion in the magnitude of the catastrophic Imperial Sugar Refinery explosion this year to finally address the situation with additional governmental accident investigations, congressional hearings, and costly studies.

The clock is ticking and there is no time to waste. Combustible dust related fires and explosions in the grain handling facility or manufacturing, utility, and non-manufacturing sectors all have the same devastating effects.

The current combustible dust bill (H.R. 5522) awaiting a vote in the Senate needs to be reevaluated with provisions for all combustible dust related explosions and fires. Lets get our eggs all in one basket instead of the chaos that has engulfed the nation's workplace concerning combustible dust hazards.

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