CSB: Perceived Conflicts Hamper Management, Control of Combustible Dust
A new report issued by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board identifies normalization of risk and perceived conflicts between safety and cost and between safety and production as barriers to the improvement of control and mitigation of combustible dust hazards. CSB’s new “Dust Hazard Learning Review” summarizes feedback on the management and control of combustible dust from companies, regulators, workers, and others affected by dust-related hazards. The report describes the challenges facing each stakeholder group and is intended to provide further insight and understanding of combustible dust hazards, according to CSB. Responses gathered during the agency’s “call to action” following the 2017 dust explosions at the Didion Milling facility in Cambria, Wisconsin, which killed five workers and injured 14 others, are the primary focus of the report. CSB’s report suggests new language to be used for combustible dust management. “Changing the common term ‘housekeeping’ to something that implies a serious hazard may have a generative effect on the safety of facilities,” the report states. Respondents voiced concerns that most compliance-based training programs for combustible dust hazards lack practical application. CSB’s report identifies learning as an area in need of attention. Another common theme in the responses was that the sharing of critical safety information among companies, industries, and regulators occurs infrequently. Respondents suggested that “having a platform to share information and experiences openly, without fear of reprisal or punishment, would offer the best path forward to learn from others regarding dust hazard mitigations and best practices.” For further details, see the full CSB report (PDF).