CSB to OSHA “UNACCEPTABLE”

We’ve been following Rafael Moure-Eraso’s battle with OSHA for a while now in this blog (See “CSB Chides OSHA on Combustible Dust Standard“, for an example) and it seems that Raphael has stepped it up even more.

According to a memo published late last week, Raphael states the CSB has a  “statutory, Congressionally-mandated task to address the sufficiency of OSHA and EPA regulations. That is a key obligation of the CSB and I intend to continue pursuing this mandate vigorously,” and that OSHA’s response to seven (yes… SEVEN) open recommendations is quite simply “Unacceptable”.

The open recommendations cover the aforementioned combustible dust issues, which accounts for 4 of the 7 recommendations and which CSB has deemed the highest priority as well as the 3 following issues:

-Recommendation to ensure coverage under the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard for atmospheric storage tanks that could be involved in a potential catastrophic release as a result of being interconnected to a covered process with 10,000 pounds of a flammable substance. The recommendation was issued in 2002 following the CSB’s investigation of a 2001 explosion of a poorly maintained, corroded storage tank containing  spent sulfuric acid and flammable hydrocarbons at the Motiva refinery  in  Delaware City, Delaware. A worker was conducting hot work which ignited vapor through holes in the deteriorated tank. 
 
– Recommendation to revise the PSM standard to require management of change (MOC) reviews for organizational changes such as mergers and acquisitions that may impact process safety.  This recommendation, issued in 2007, followed the 2005 explosions and fire at the BP Texas City refinery which killed 15 workers and injured 180 others.     
 
– Recommendation that OSHA issue a fuel gas safety standard for construction and general industry. This recommendation, issued in June 2010 followed two catastrophic accidents that occurred that year: In one, an explosion caused a roof collapse at the ConAgra Slim Jim facility in Garner, North Carolina, killing four workers and injuring 67 others. A worker had been attempting to purge new natural gas piping during the installation of an industrial water heater, resulting in a large release of natural gas indoors. In the other, at the Kleen Energy power plant in Middletown, Connecticut, high pressure natural gas was being used to clean new piping and was released in a congested outdoor area. It  ignited, killing six workers and injuring at least 50.   
Chairperson Moure-Eraso further said, “The Board has called on OSHA a number of times over the past several years to act on this known, insidious hazard that continues to claim the lives of workers and cause enormous damage and loss of jobs. It’s critical that OSHA address the recommendations.”
Read the complete statement by the CSB

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