Chemical Safety Board OKs T2 Report Despite Criticism

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) on Tuesday night unanimously approved a draft report on the fire and explosion at T2 Laboratories, despite criticism from chemical industry worker unions recommending the board urge strong EPA and OSHA standards to prevent runaway reactions in chemical factories.

The unions reacted to the report on a deadly chemical incident in Jacksonville, Fla., on Dec. 19, 2007, which destroyed T2 Laboratories, a specialty chemical producer. The explosion killed four people and injured 32 others. According to an earlier Chemical Safety Board news release, the accident occurred when T2 mixed more than half a ton of highly reactive sodium metal with other chemicals in a process to make a gasoline additive, creating a 2,000-foot-high fireball.

"The CSB agreed today that their prior recommendations to OSHA were still 'open,' but let the issue drop there," said Eric Frumin, Health and Safety coordinator, Change to Win. "If the board persists in flouting its mandate, it will require new leadership to assure that its mission is accomplished."

The unions have urged OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency to address reactive chemicals since 1995. They petitioned OSHA for an emergency temporary standard on reactive chemicals after two union members and three supervisors were killed in an April 1995 fire and explosion at Napp Technologies in Lodi, N.J. OSHA responded by adding this issue to OSHA`s "Regulatory Agenda."

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