View video: Inferno: Dust Explosion at Imperial Sugar.
PORT WENTWORTH, GA – The Savannah Morning News reports while officials of Imperial Sugar assure that the new plant will “be the safest” in the country, that there is no government agency with jurisdiction to verify that claim.
Construction is proceeding at the plant that was largely destroyed by a combustible dust explosion Feb. 7, 2008. The explosion and subsequent fire killed 14 workers and injured dozens more.
Imperial Sugar officials said they are incorporating recommendations of the Chemical Safety Board, which determined that poor equipment design contributed to the explosion. The company also said it had hired consultants with combustible dust expertise to develop the new plant.
U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-GA), who has proposed legislation aimed at preventing combustible dust explosions, told the paper he was concerned that there was no federal or state regulatory body reviewing the engineering plans and construction.
The Imperial Sugar disaster not only precipitated congressional action, but also potential rulemaking by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Wood dust is among the combustible dusts being scrutinized by OSHA.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.