Third combustible dust-related incident shuts down Tennessee manufacturing plant

June 8, 2011

Nashville, TN – A Tennessee manufacturing plant has suspended production following the deaths of two workers in the facility’s third combustible dust-related incident in four months.

The Chemical Safety Board is investigating all three incidents at the Hoeganaes Corp. plant in Gallatin, TN. During a June 3 press conference (.pdf file), CSB investigator Johnnie Banks told reporters that flash fires at the facility on Jan. 31 and March 29 were solely related to combustible dust, and an explosion and fire on May 27 were caused by a hydrogen gas leak and involved combustible dust. Four workers died and four others were injured in the incident.

“Hoeganaes and its corporate parent, GKN, need to make significant safety improvements to this plant before resuming the manufacturing of iron powder,” CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said at the press conference. “Without such improvements, there is too great a risk that additional tragic accidents will occur here in the future.”