Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
U.S. Chemical Safety Board commends Kentucky Office of Housing, Buildings and Construction
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 16, 2006) - The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) today commended the Kentucky Office of Housing, Buildings and Construction (HBC) for steps it has taken to protect workers from the hazards of combustible dust.
The board said HBC developed an inspection and education program that "went above and beyond the CSB safety recommendation" in the aftermath of an explosion that killed seven workers and injured 37 others at the CTA Acoustics Inc. plant in Corbin in 2003.
Kentucky "has demonstrated a strong commitment to making industrial facilities in the state safe from deadly dust explosions," CSB Chairman Carolyn Merritt said. "The Kentucky program is a model for other states to study and follow."
LaJuana S. Wilcher, secretary of the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, said the federal board’s affirmation of Kentucky’s inspection and education program was gratifying.
"Creating and sustaining a culture of safety in the work place is our constant mission," said Wilcher, whose cabinet includes HBC. "Our agency has taken actions, unprecedented in Kentucky, to ensure that the tragedy of CTA Acoustics is never repeated."
The federal board’s investigation of the disaster concluded that clouds of a chemical dust - phenolic resin - were ignited on a production line at the plant, which made acoustic fiberglass insulation.
The CSB also found that the State Fire Marshal’s office, which is part of HBC, did not regularly inspect industrial facilities for fire safety and never had inspected the CTA plant, which was built in 1972.
The board recommended that HBC identify sites that handle combustible dusts when facilities apply for new or modified construction permits, and use the information to set priorities for fire marshal inspections.
HBC went farther, revamping its building code review process to identify all new or modified facilities that can generate large quantities of combustible dust and adding those facilities to the fire marshal’s annual inspection list.
The HBC also went above and beyond the CSB recommendation by:
· Generating a list of existing facilities at risk for combustible dust explosions;
· Successfully seeking funding from the Legislature for more inspectors;
· Prioritizing its 2006 inspection schedule to concentrate on facilities with combustible dusts hazards; and
· Actively working with inspected facilities to generate cleaning plans.
Merritt said Kentucky "has demonstrated a strong commitment to making industrial facilities in the state safer from deadly dust explosions. The new program is helping to identify work places at risk and promote changes."