Industries in Georgia that produce flammable dust must now follow new safety rules imposed by Georgia’s top fire official in the wake of the deadly explosion and fire that occurred at the Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, Georgia. Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine said the companies will have to draw up emergency plans, give employees evacuation training, and make regular reports to the state under the regulations issued last month. They will also have to give new attention to their dust exhaust equipment. The rules on the ventilation system of sucking the particles out of a facility have been strengthened. The new rules went into effect immediately and will remain in effect for six months. The Commissioner will take steps to make the new rules permanent. These new rules come in response to the explosion and fire in February at the refinery where 12 workers were killed and dozens more injured. The head of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced last month that federal inspections will be carried out at hundreds of plants at which combustible dust is a workplace hazard. The OSHA decision also came in response to the Port Wentworth disaster.
Combustible dust standards were put into effect for the grain industry after a series of explosions in the 1980s, but OSHA declined to act on a 2006 recommendation by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board that similar standards be set up for other industries. The Chemical Safety Board’s standards are included in Georgia’s new regulations. The emergency rule will apply to every industrial facility in the state of Georgia that produces combustible dust, according to Commissioner Oxendine. These could include chemical facilities, food processing businesses, and tire plants, and potentially number in the thousands. All of the industries will be contacted to verify whether they come under the regulation.
Source: Insurance Journal
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