Only One CSB Imperial Sugar Recommendation Still Open


Eight years after dust-related explosions ripped through an Imperial Sugar Company refinery in Port Wentworth, Ga., on Feb. 7, killing 14 people and injuring 38 others, only one of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s recommendations stemming from that incident remains open.

CSB posted an update on its recommendations as the anniversary arrived.

The only open recommendation is one made to OSHA: Promulgate a comprehensive standard to reduce or eliminate hazards from fire and explosion from combustible powders and dust. That one, CSB regards as “Open – Unacceptable Response/No Response Received,” adding that OSHA disagrees with the need outlined in the recommendation, but CSB believes there is sufficient evidence to justify a rulemaking.

Another recommendation made by the board in its completed investigation was for the Risk and Insurance Management Society; CSB asked RIMS to require member companies to develop and implement combustible dust hazard awareness training for all facility audit personnel and to incorporate combustible dust hazard identification in the audit protocols. This recommendation is “Closed – Reconsidered/Superseded,” with CSB reporting that RIMS rejects the recommendation but supports the rejection with a rationale with which the board concurs.

Other recommendations were addressed to Imperial Sugar, AIB International, Zurich Services Corporation, the American Bakers Association, and others.

The board asked Imperial Sugar to apply the following standards to the design and operation of the new Port Wentworth facility and reports that the company’s actions meet the board’s objectives:

  • NFPA 61: Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities
  • NFPA 499: Recommended Practice for the Classification of Combustible Dusts and Hazardous (Classified) Locations for Electrical Installations in Chemical Process Areas
  • NFPA 654:Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids
  • NFPA Handbook, Electrical Installations in Hazardous Locations
  • NFPA 70 Article 500:Hazardous (Classified) Locations