Washington, DC, November 3, 2004 - The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board's extensive investigation into a chemical plant dust explosion that occurred in Kinston, North Carolina, will be the subject of a documentary called "Failure Analysis: Dust Explosion" on The Science Channel this coming Friday, Nov. 5, 2004. The Science Channel is part of Discovery Networks, U.S., which also operates and manages the Discovery Channel.
CSB Chairman Carolyn Merritt said, "We are pleased that The Science Channel is focusing on this dust explosion incident and we are hopeful this will help spread the word about the dangers of combustible dust in the workplace, as well as let viewers know about the work of the CSB. We are investigating other similar explosions and are conducting a study on this hazard."
According to producers of the show, "Failure Analysis: Dust Explosion" examines how CSB investigators unraveled the accident, discusses their methodology, and describes the analysis that went into the final report of the West Pharmaceutical plant explosion and fire that took the lives of six workers, injured dozens, and caused hundreds of job losses. The facility produced rubber stoppers and other products for medical use. The show focuses on how the CSB learned that fuel for the explosion was a fine plastic powder, which accumulated above a suspended ceiling over a manufacturing area at the plant and then ignited.
Chairman Carolyn Merritt added, "It's our hope that our stakeholders workers, plant managers, owners, trade association members and others - will be able to view this documentary which explains the dust hazard that caused this terrible accident, and shows the fine work of CSB investigators."
The "Dust Explosion" episode featuring the West Pharmaceutical investigation is part of a three-part series on The Science Channel entitled "Failure Analysis" which airs Friday nights at 9 p.m. According to information provided by the channel, "The episode focuses on the massive explosion that rocked the rural North Carolina town of Kinston in January 2003. Emergency responders found a local manufacturing company engulfed in flames with employees still trapped inside. It appeared that the explosion happened without warning, prompting everyone to wonder if this was the scene of an accident or an act of terrorism. As firefighters and rescue workers tried to save lives and control the fire, investigators from the ATF and the Chemical Safety Board were called in to find answers in the twisted wreckage. In the episode, structural engineers, blast experts and survivors work together to identify a silent killer that claimed seven lives."
More information about airdates and times may be found on www.discovery.com under The Science Channel section. To view the complete CSB Investigation Report, public meetings, and other material concerning the West Pharmaceutical investigation, visit www.csb.gov under "Completed Investigations."
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 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. Further information about the CSB is available from www.csb.gov. For more information, contact Kara Wenzel, CSB 202-261-7642 / 202-577-8448 (cell), or Sandy Gilmour (Public Affairs Contractor), 202-261-7614 / 202-251-5496 (cell).