Magazine article Occupational Hazards

House: OSHA Could Have Prevented T2 Blast

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

House: OSHA Could Have Prevented T2 Blast

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In a Jan. 11 letter to OSHA Administrator Edwin Foulke Jr., House legislators stressed the fatal explosion at T2 Laboratories in Jacksonville, Fla., could have been prevented had OSHA enforced stronger refinery and chemical safety rules.

The Chemical Safety Hazard and Investigation Board (CSB) said the Jan. 3 blast, which killed four workers and injured a dozen others, was caused by "an out of control chemical reaction." California Democrat Reps. George Miller and Lynn Woolsey stated that modifying OSHA's Process Safety Management Standard (1910.119) in accordance with CSB's suggestions would "most likely have covered the reactive process at T2 Laboratories and compliance with that modified standard might have prevented the fatal explosion."

In 2002, CSB conducted a major study of reactive hazards and identified 167 serious reactive chemical accidents in the United States over a 20-year period. The board concluded that the incidents were "a significant chemical safety problem" and that OSHA's standard has "significant gaps in coverage of reactive hazards because it was based on a limited list of individual chemicals with inherently reactive properties. …

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