Following its investigation into the 2017 fatal dust explosion at the Didion Milling facility in Cambria, Wis., the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) gathered feedback from industries that handle combustible dust. The document, “Dust Hazard Learning Review,” seeks to identify the key barriers to improvement in the control and mitigation of combustible dust hazards.

The CSB identified key issues that can serve as a roadmap to improved safety:

  • Sharing Information. The sharing of information between companies, industries and regulators was the most desired goal requested from the respondents. These respondents felt that having a platform to share information and experiences openly, without fear of reprisal or punishment, would offer the best path forward to learn from others regarding dust hazard mitigations and best practices.
  • Barriers to Improvement. Respondents identified the inability to achieve a dust-free environment. Review of the comments revealed that this may have been due to a normalization of risk.
  • Controls. The call to action revealed important challenges with the language used to describe combustible dust and its mitigation, suggesting it be presented as a distinct hazard, not simply as an “issue of tidying up the place.”

The feedback was provided companies, regulators, inspectors, safety training providers, researchers, unions and the workers affected by dust-related hazards. The report may identify some ways in which the management, control and understanding of combustible dust can be addressed in industry.