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CSB to release findings into Hoeganaes combustible dust accidents next week

November 11, 2011
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Hoegenaes plant

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) says it will release the findings of its investigation into a series of iron dust flash fires that occurred this year at the Hoeganaes Plant in Gallatin, TN. at a public meeting in Gallatin on November 16.

A total of five workers were killed and three injured during the the three combustible iron dust-related accidents, which happened on Jan. 31, March 29 and May 27. The first two were iron dust incidents, while the third involved a hydrogen explosion resulting in iron dust flash fires.

At the meeting the CSB investigative team will present its findings on the circumstances of the accident to three CSB board members and the public. The Board will ask questions of the team in front of the audience and will then invite comments from members of the public. The meeting will be videotaped and an official transcript will be included in the investigative file. Only after a vote of the Board will the investigation results be final.
 
Following the presentation of the CSB investigation team, a panel of outside witnesses will be invited to speak on a number of issues related to the investigation.  Confirmed panel members include Dr. Robert Zalosh, former professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an independent expert on combustible dust; Professor Paul Amyotte of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia; Mr. John Cholin, P.E., who investigated a similar incident in 1992 at a Hoeganaes manufacturing facility in New Jersey; and Mr. Bruce Johnson of the International Code Council, the developer of the fire code followed in Tennessee.
 
The meeting will begin at 6:00 p.m. at the EPIC Event Center, 392 and 394 West Main St., Gallatin, TN 37066. It is is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is not required, but to assure adequate seating, attendees are encouraged to pre-register by emailing their names and affiliations to publicmeeting@csb.gov by November 14, 2011.
 
About the CSB

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious 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. www.csb.gov

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