(Washington, DC - Feb. 20, 2003) The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has dispatched a preliminary investigative team to the site of this morning's explosion at the CTA Acoustics plant in Corbin, KY.
The team, which is due to arrive later this evening, will include CSB Board Member Dr. Gerald Poje and lead investigator Bill Hoyle. Preliminary reports from the scene indicate the blast occurred between 7:30 and 8 a.m., releasing a cloud of thick smoke. About two dozen employees were reported injured, several with critical burns, and a stretch of interstate highway was temporarily closed. CTA is a manufacturer of acoustic and thermal insulation products used in products such as appliances and automobiles.
CSB Chairman Carolyn Merritt said: "We are deploying a team to Corbin because this was an event with multiple serious injuries to workers as well as a potential impact on the community. If this proves to be a chemical accident, we will proceed with an investigation to determine its root causes and make recommendations to prevent future accidents of this kind."
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. CSB investigations look into all aspects of such events, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in safety management systems. Typically, the investigations involve extensive witness interviews, examination of debris and chemical and forensic testing.
The Board does not issue fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Further information about the CSB is available from www.csb.gov.
Washington: Sandy Gilmour 202-251-5496 (cell)
On-site in Corbin, KY: Don Critchfield 202-494-4517 (cell)