Well-Known Dust Explosion Hazard Continues to Cause Preventable Worker Deaths

Law Firm Newswire



Washington, D.C. (Law Firm Newswire) August 28, 2014 – Preventable explosions caused by combustible dust continue to kill industrial workers, asserts a new case study from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB). The agency has called for better regulation and has said that both private and government organizations are to blame.

The CSB case study focuses on a 2010 combustible dust explosion that killed three workers at AL Solutions, a West Virginia metal recycling facility. The report notes that dust explosions and resulting fatalities had previously occurred at the facility, but that the owner failed to implement recommended safety measures after them.

“This study shows us a company who knew its premises to be unsafe, yet chose not to rectify the situation,” said David Lietz, an industrial accident attorney. “It is a sadly typical example of how corporate disregard for the combustible dust hazard can cause real tragedy.”

Over the last decade, both the CSB and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have stepped up campaigns to encourage companies to implement combustible dust management procedures.

But the CSB study still points a finger at OSHA, stating that the AL Solutions deaths might have been avoided if OSHA had created an enforceable combustible dust standard in 2006 when the CSB initially called for one.

“Some of the victims in the AL Solutions accident have filed suit against the company,” commented Lietz, who is not involved with the case. “Hopefully, in addition to receiving some compensation for their loss, these victims and their case will push OSHA and other regulators to act to prevent similar tragedies in the future.”