CSB July 16 Public Meeting in Charleston, WV

July 10th, 2014

CSB Will Hold July 16 Public Meeting in Charleston, WV to Release Investigation into 2010 Fatal Accident in New Cumberland, WV and Update the Public on Ongoing Investigation into Chemical Leak at Freedom Industries

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) will convene a public meeting on July 16, 2014, starting at 12:00 p.m. in the Ballroom at the Four Points Sheraton located at 600 Kanawha Blvd. E, Charleston, WV 25301.

At the public meeting, the board will hear findings and recommendations from the CSB’s investigation team into the December 9, 2010, explosion and fire which occurred at AL Solutions located in New Cumberland, WV. An explosion ripped through the New Cumberland AL Solutions titanium plant in West Virginia on December 9, 2010, fatally injuring three workers. The workers were processing titanium powder, which is highly combustible, at the time of the explosion. The meeting will also provide an update on the CSB’s investigation into the January 9, 2014, tank leak at Freedom Industries that contaminated the local water supply leaving hundreds of thousands of West Virginia residents without clean drinking water.

This public meeting is intended to provide members of the public with information into how this incident occurred and how similar future incidents can be prevented or mitigated.

Following the staff presentation the Board will hear comments from the public. All staff presentations are preliminary and are intended solely to allow the Board to consider in a public forum the issues and factors involved in this case. No factual analyses, conclusions, or findings presented by staff should be considered final until approved by a vote of the Board.

The meeting is free and open to the public. If you require a translator or interpreter, please notify the individual listed below as the “Contact Person for Further Information,” at least five business days prior to the meeting.

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.

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.

The Deadly Consequences of Improperly Cleaning Combustible Dust

November 8th, 2013

Fire FighterIt’s important to clean up combustible dust accumulations, but the method and equipment used must be suitable for the dangerous environment.

In a recent explosion at a manufacturing plant in Massachusetts, one person was critically injured with burns on 90 percent of his body, and two others were injured in an explosion that occurred while a worker was vacuuming machinery.

According to the State Fire Marshall’s office, the vacuum was improperly grounded, causing a build-up of static charge, and igniting the dust leading to an explosion.

Grounding equipment including vacuums, lifts, and hoses is critical when handling combustible dust hazards. For more information on safely cleaning combustible dust, contact Hughes Environmental.

For more on the story, click here.

US Chemical Safety Board releases preliminary findings in West Texas explosion

June 27th, 2013

West Explosion Photo by CSB investigator Mark Wingard, who surveyed the site with a remote-controlled aircraft. (credit: US CSB)

West Explosion Photo by CSB investigator Mark Wingard, who surveyed the site with a remote-controlled aircraft. (credit: US CSB)

 

The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its preliminary findings on the West, Texas explosion before the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works with testimony from Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso, PhD on June 27,2013. The CSB found that loopholes in regulations, lack of preventative safety measures, along with lack of oversight allowed the facility to store large amounts of ammonium nitrate, with only voluntary fire codes as guidance. While voluntary fire codes are valuable resources, Moure-Eraso points out that, “Texas and most of its counties have no fire code.  So at West, these fire code provisions were strictly voluntary, and West Fertilizer had not volunteered.”

The investigators found that combustible seeds were stored near the ammonium nitrate (AN) with no fire-resistant partition, and the ammonium nitrate was stored in combustible wooden buildings, in wooden storage bins, and no sprinklers were required. The explosion itself resulted from an intense fire in warehouse, leading to the detonation of approximately 30 tons of AN. The combination of a combustible building, combustible bins, and the intensity of the fire heightened by the combustible seeds stored next to the AN resulted in a large blast that killed 15 people and destroyed the surrounding community.

Outdated and insufficient regulations, and no federal, state, or local standards restricting the siting of ammonium nitrate storage facilities in the vicinity of homes, schools, businesses, and health care facilities means the same risk could exist for other communities with similar facilities, exposing residents to life-threatening, and most likely preventable, hazards.

Read the written Senate testimony.

Read the CSB’s preliminary findings.

Hughes Environmental Expands Offering with Dry Ice Cleaning Services

May 15th, 2013


LOUISVILLE, KY (May 15, 2013) – Hughes Environmental, a regional leader in commercial duct cleaning and rafter and ceiling cleaning, announced that it will now provide dry ice cleaning services to its customers with Cold Jet® dry ice cleaning systems.

Hughes Environmental tackles a multitude of cleaning applications. The time efficiency and cleaning effectiveness of dry ice cleaning will enable them to offer new solutions to their customers. The Cold Jet systems not only save on cleaning time, but will also allow Hughes Environmental to save money as they use less ice and air than any other dry ice cleaning system on the market.

Dry ice cleaning provides a quick, safe, non-toxic and economical cleaning solution.  With dry ice cleaning, you can clean in-place, without disassembly or cool down.  It is non-abrasive, non-conductive, non-corrosive and does not introduce water.  Dry ice cleaning solutions have no secondary waste, increase efficiency and improve part quality.

“Our contract cleaning customers find success with their Cold Jet system in the printing, utility, plastics and general manufacturing industries as well as in historical restoration and disaster (smoke, fire, water) remediation,” said Darren George, Director of Business Development for Contractors.  “We are excited to have Hughes Environmental as part of our team.  They will be able to take on more projects and increase profits because of the reliability and speed that dry ice cleaning systems provide.”

“Cold Jet dry ice cleaning systems will be another great tool for us to use,” said Chuck Cooper, Director of Business Development with Hughes Environmental.  “Dry ice cleaning will be a great fit for many of our current customers, and help us to expand our line of services to even more facilities.”

 

About Hughes Environmental

In early 2005, Gail Walkiewicz and Craig Rutledge started Hughes Environmental, Inc. to service the commercial duct cleaning and combustible dust remediation needs of clients in the eastern half of the United States.  Hughes Environmental has seen strong growth since its inception as a result of superior customer service and a staff comprised of multiple NADCA Certified “Air System Cleaning Specialist”, American Council for Accredited Certification “Certified Mold Remediators”, and “Certified Indoor Environmentalist”. For more information visit: www.HughesEnv.com.

About Cold Jet

Cold Jet® is the world leader in developing innovative, environmentally responsible cleaning solutions that help companies reduce maintenance costs, enhance product quality, prolong equipment life, and improve productivity and worker safety. Cold Jet’s extensive line of dry ice cleaning systems are used in a variety of industries, making productive use of recycled carbon dioxide while eliminating the need for chemicals and water in the cleaning process. In addition to its dry ice-based cleaning systems, the company’s dry ice production equipment is used by every major gas company worldwide to produce the highest density dry ice available. Cold Jet is a private company with global headquarters in Loveland, Ohio and international operations in Europe, Asia, Canada and Mexico. For more information, visit www.coldjet.com or call 1-800-337-9423 or +1 513-831-3211 (International).

 

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OSHA issues new resource to protect emergency workers at combustible dust fires

April 2nd, 2013

April 1, 2013
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1999

OSHA issues new resource to protect emergency workers at combustible dust fires

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today published Firefighting Precautions at Facilities with Combustible Dust*, a new, informative booklet that outlines safe procedures for emergency responders who may face fires and explosions caused by combustible dust.

“This booklet will keep both emergency response and facility workers safe by giving them a framework to prepare for potential emergencies involving combustible dust,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. “Stakeholders that have reviewed the booklet, including fire chiefs and union health and safety representatives, describe it as ‘an excellent resource for explaining the hazards associated with combustible dust and outlining the best practices for pre-incident operational preparation by emergency responders.’”

Since 1980, more than 130 workers have been killed and more than 780 injured in combustible dust explosions. The publication describes how combustible dust explosions occur and uses previous incidents to illustrate how firefighting operations can prevent combustible dust explosions. The booklet explains the preparations emergency responders can make before a response and how these preparations will affect the operational plan during a response.

Combustible dusts include fine particles, fibers, chips, chunks or flakes that, under certain conditions, can cause a fire or explosion when suspended in air. Types of dusts include metal (for example, aluminum and magnesium), wood, plastic, rubber, coal, flour, sugar and paper, among others. OSHA’s Combustible Dust Web page provides employers and workers with additional information and resources for preventing and minimizing the effects of combustible dust fires and explosions.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

Hughes Environmental selected for the 2012 Louisville Awards

August 2nd, 2012

Louisville, Ky. (August 1st, 2012) – Hughes Environmental, a commercial duct cleaning and combustible dust remediation company based in Louisville, Kentucky, has been selected for the 2012 Louisville Awards in the Heating & Air Conditioning System Duct Cleaning Services category by the Louisville Award Program committee.  Selection for this award reflects the hard work of all of those who have supported and contributed to the success of Hughes Environmental.

The Louisville Awards Program recognized outstanding local Louisville businesses whom they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community, as well as in their business category. Chuck Cooper, Director of Business Development for Hughes Environmental said, “We’re honored to be recognized locally for our achievements; maintaining a strong relationship with our community is a priority of ours at Hughes.”

The Louisville Awards are given to local companies that are continuously working to enhance the positive image of small businesses through service not only to their customers, but also to their community.

About Hughes Environmental

In early 2005 Gail Walkiewicz and Craig Rutledge started Hughes Environmental, Inc. to service the commercial duct cleaning and combustible dust remediation needs for clients in the eastern half of the United States. Hughes Environmental has seen strong growth since its inception as a result of superior customer service and a staff comprised of multiple NADCA Certified “Air System Cleaning Specialists”, American Council for Accredited Certification “Certified Mold Remediators”, and “Certified Indoor Environmentalist”. For more information visit: www.hughesenv.com

For more information please contact Jen Bryant at 888-845-3952 or jbryant@hughesenv.com

 

Hughes Environmental, a commercial duct cleaning company based in Louisville, Kentucky, has received the HVAC Inspection, Maintenance and Restoration Association’s 2011 “Outstanding Safety Award”.

May 23rd, 2012

LOUISVILLE, KY (May 22, 2012) – For the sixth year in a row, Hughes Environmental, a commercial duct cleaning company based in Louisville, Kentucky, has received the HVAC Inspection, Maintenance and Restoration Association’s 2011 “Outstanding Safety Award”. Winners of the Outstanding Safety Award have maintained little to no instances of employee injury for three or more consecutive years.

The requirements for the Safety Award are based on standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Companies who apply for the award must have completed OSHA #300A Log in accordance with requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and have met safety guidelines as stipulated by NADCA to receive the honor.

“Safety isn’t just a buzzword for us. It’s part of our day-to-day routine when working with combustible dust and HVAC system cleaning,” said Chuck Cooper, Director of Business Development for Hughes Environmental.  “We’re proud to have received this award every year that we’ve been in business.”

In early 2005 Gail Walkiewicz and Craig Rutledge started Hughes Environmental, Inc. to service the commercial duct cleaning and rafter and ceiling cleaning needs of clients in the eastern half of the United States.  Hughes Environmental has seen strong growth since its inception as a result of superior customer service and a staff comprised of multiple NADCA Certified “Air System Cleaning Specialist”, ACAC “Certified Mold Remediators”, and “Certified Indoor Environmentalist”.

For more information please contact Jen Bryant at 888-845-3952 or jbryant@hughesenv.com.

Hughes Environmental Wins Safety Award

May 22nd, 2012

NADCA Safety AwardLOUISVILLE, KY (May 22, 2012) – For the sixth year in a row, Hughes Environmental, a commercial duct cleaning company based in Louisville, Kentucky, has received the HVAC Inspection, Maintenance and Restoration Association’s “Outstanding Safety Award”. Winners of the Outstanding Safety Award have maintained little to no instances of employee injury for three or more consecutive years.

The requirements for the Safety Award are based on standards from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Companies who apply for the award must have completed OSHA #300A Log in accordance with requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and have met safety guidelines as stipulated by NADCA to receive the honor.
“Safety isn’t just a buzzword for us. It’s part of our day-to-day routine when working with combustible dust and HVAC system cleaning,” said Chuck Cooper, Director of Business Development for Hughes Environmental. “We’re proud to have received this award every year that we’ve been in business.”

In early 2005 Gail Walkiewicz and Craig Rutledge started Hughes Environmental, Inc. to service the commercial duct cleaning and rafter and ceiling cleaning needs of clients in the eastern half of the United States. Hughes Environmental has seen strong growth since its inception as a result of superior customer service and a staff comprised of multiple NADCA Certified “Air System Cleaning Specialist”, ACAC “Certified Mold Remediators”, and “Certified Indoor Environmentalist”.
For more information please contact Jen Bryant at 888-845-3952 or jbryant@hughesenv.com.

New Legislation Addresses Air Conveyance System Cleaning in Ohio

May 10th, 2012

 

After Ohio State Senator Kevin Bacon saw a documentary on Dateline highlighting an Ohio consumer who was a victim of some bait-and-switch deception by an air duct cleaning company, he decided to tackle the issue in the cleaning business through new legislation. Senator Bacon explained in a recent press conference that this bill is designed to protect consumers, and to protect duct cleaning businesses that are running legitimately.

What this legislation means to cleaning companies:

To do business in Ohio, any Air Conveyance System Cleaning company must register with the state, regardless of whether they live in the state, or whether the business is located in the state of Ohio. The registration will require a fee, an application, and a disclosure statement saying whether the applicant has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to any crime. An applicant can be denied if they’ve been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude or dishonesty and safety in performing air conveyance system cleaning services. Contractors may not offer, perform or advertise cleaning services without registering first. And, the registration must be done annually.

The bill also requires that companies do not misrepresent the benefits of system cleaning, their affiliation or certifications, or say that a consumers system has a dangerous substance inside if it does not. Seems pretty reasonable, right?

The rules get a little more daunting as the bill requires that companies must display their new registration number on their vehicles, in their place of business, in all advertisements going out in the state, on business documents, contracts and any correspondence going to consumers for air conveyance system cleaning services. For businesses operating in multiple states, this complicates things a bit.

The proposed legislation goes on to say that companies must not perform any services without a written contract, which, is just good business anyway. The contract must include the registration number, proof of commercial general liability insurance, and the total price or other consideration to be paid, including the finance charges.

What this legislation means to consumers:

The director of commerce will be tasked with creating a searchable online database system where consumers can readily identify registered companies. If a company has been shady in the past, the consumer should be able to tell quickly.

Hopefully, fly-by-night con artists will be deterred, at least in the state of Ohio. If not, consumers will have a fast way to report them.

For the complete text of the bill, click here.

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites Alabama Farmers Cooperative for combustible dust and other hazards

April 12th, 2012

Region 4 News Release: 12-544-ATL (130)

April 10, 2012
Contact: Michael Wald  
Phone: 404-562-2078 
Email: wald.michael@dol.gov 

Michael D’Aquino
404-562-2076
d’aquino.michael@dol.gov

US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites Alabama Farmers Cooperative for combustible dust and other hazards; proposes nearly $192,000 in fines

DECATUR, Ala. – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Alabama Farmers Cooperative Inc. with 17 safety and health violations for exposing workers at its Decatur facility to combustible dust and other hazards. Proposed penalties total $191,700 following an October inspection initiated based on a complaint.

Two willful safety violations, with penalties of $126,000, include failing to establish a housekeeping program to reduce the accumulation of, and use approved electrical equipment in the presence of, combustible dust. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

Thirteen serious safety and health violations, with penalties of $65,700, include failing to provide working interlocks on the personnel elevator to prevent the door from opening when the elevator was not present, cover the grain chute opening, provide guardrails on open-sided floors and platforms to prevent fall hazards, provide handrails on stairways, establish an audiometric testing program and guard various pieces of equipment. Additionally, workers were exposed to nuisance dust 1.6 times higher than the permissible exposure limit. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Two other-than-serious health violations with no monetary penalties involve failing to review and verify that OSHA 300 log entries were accurate and complete from 2008 to the present, and to provide the certified OSHA summary form from 2008 to the present. An other-than-serious violation is one that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.

“Although this employer’s management is familiar with the safety issues associated with combustible dust, it still was allowed to accumulate throughout the facility, exposing workers to fire and explosion hazards,” said Roberto Sanchez, OSHA’s area director in Birmingham. “It is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace.”

The citations can be viewed at

http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AlabamaFarmersCooperativeInc_315981480_0405_12.pdf*

http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/AlabamaFarmersCooperativeInc_315969436_0405_12.pdf*.

Decatur-headquartered Alabama Farmers Cooperative Inc. provides a range of agricultural supplies and services to farmers in the state. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Birmingham or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Birmingham Area Office at 205-731-1564.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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Source: OSHA.gov