CSB to Convene March 30 Community Meeting in Baton Rouge to Discuss Honeywell Incidents

March 17, 2004

Washington, DC, March 17, 2004 - The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) announces that it will convene a community meeting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, March 30, 2004, to discuss preliminary findings from the CSB's investigation of three chemical incidents at a local Honeywell chemical plant.

CSB investigators Lisa Long, Johnnie Banks, and Mike Morris will present preliminary findings and discuss areas for future investigation. Following their presentation, a representative from the East Baton Rouge Parish Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness will discuss the emergency notification system for chemical releases. There will then be an opportunity for members of the public to offer comments.

Board member Dr. Gerald Poje will preside at the meeting, accompanied by Board member Rixio Medina.

The community meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the evening of March 30 at the Dr. Leo S. Butler Community Center, 950 East Washington Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802. There is no fee or pre-registration required to participate.

The CSB is currently investigating three separate incidents at the Honeywell refrigerant plant in Baton Rouge. On July 20, 2003, there was a release of chlorine gas from the Honeywell chemical plant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The accident resulted in the hospitalization of four plant workers and required residents within a half-mile radius to shelter in their homes. On July 29, 2003, a worker was fatally injured by exposure to antimony pentachloride when a gas cylinder released its contents to the atmosphere. On August 13, 2003, two plant workers were hospitalized for exposure to hydrofluoric acid.

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 physical evidence, and chemical and forensic testing. The agency's five board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. There is currently one board vacancy.

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. Visit www.csb.gov for more information. Media contacts: Daniel Horowitz, 202-261-7613 / 202-441-6074 (cell) or Sandy Gilmour 202-261-7614 / 202-251-5496 (cell).


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