This morning’s AIHce 2012 General Session speaker brought a special perspective to the topic of combustible dust danger.

As President and CEO of Imperial Sugar, John C. Sheptor is in a unique position to discuss the devastating 2008 combustible dust explosion at his company’s refinery in Port Wentworth, GA – an event that killed 14 people, injured 38 others and caused massive damage to the facility.

The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) found that the explosion was fueled by massive accumulations of combustible sugar dust throughout the packaging building.  The dust found an ignition source and started a flash fire.

Sheptor discussed his company’s recovery from the tragedy. He said he was pleased with the response of his company and his industry to the incident but that he is “most disappointed . . . that we still do not have a combustible dust standard. There needs to be a standard that educates on proper ways of managing combustible dust.”

Sheptor urged OEHS professionals to be proactive in order to prevent combustible dust incidents, and asserted that prevention should begin with a commitment to safety from the highest levels of management.

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