The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a new nine-minute safety video on the combustible dust explosion at the Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, Ga., which claimed the lives of 14 workers, injured 36 and caused extensive property damage on February 7, 2008. The video includes a new four-minute 3-D computer animation depicting the first explosion, known as the primary event that likely occurred inside a recently enclosed sugar conveyor, which was followed by massive secondary dust explosions that destroyed the plant's sugar packing buildings.
The CSB's final report on the accident was approved at a public meeting in Savannah on September 24, 2009. At the meeting, the CSB recommended that OSHA move forward expeditiously with a new combustible dust standard, as the CSB first recommended in 2006, and urged the Imperial Sugar and several trade associations to take other actions to reduce the hazard.
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards and safety management systems. The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA.