The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) yesterday sent an investigation team to the site of an explosion, fire and roof collapse at the ConAgra Foods plant in Garner, North Carolina, (just south of Raleigh) that blew workers off their feet.

According to media reports, more than 40 people have been transported to area hospitals (some in critical condition with severe burns), including three firefighters. Two workes were killed following the explosion which occurred shortly before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. The explosion caused the roof to collapse on one side of the building, knocked down walls, and blew debris about the area, smashing cars parked next to the 500,000-square-foot facility.

Three hundred workers were at the plant at the time of the blast.

The CSB team will be headed by Investigations Supervisor Don Holmstrom. Board Member William Wark will accompany the team.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating 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.