Washington, DC, August 3, 2010 – The U.S. Chemical Safety Board announced today that it will be conducting a full investigation into the July 22, 2010, explosion and fire that killed two workers at the Horsehead Holding Company zinc recycling facility located in Monaca, PA.
On July 25, the CSB deployed a three-person assessment team to the accident site. Investigators interviewed company personnel and documented the scene. The facility, which recycles and purifies zinc through a high temperature distillation process, is located approximately 35 miles north of Pittsburgh. Preliminary interviews indicate there was a loss of containment from the lower section of one of the distillation columns.
CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “I am very concerned about the safety of this type of production process for the workers and the community. There may be other facilities across the country that are using a similar metal distillation process; the CSB will be examining how to increase the safety of this type of operation.”
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious 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. Visit our website, www.csb.gov.
For more information, contact Public Affairs Specialist Hillary Cohen 202.261.3601.