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E-M:/ CSB Board to Investigate Ford Explosion

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

X-From_: csbinfo@csb.gov Wed Feb  3 16:49:22 1999
From: csbinfo@csb.gov
To: ajs@sagady.com
Subject: Safety Board to Join Investigation of Explosion
 at Ford Plant That Killed One, Injured Dozens
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 16:48:22 -0500

The following message is from the United States Chemical Safety 
and Hazard Investigation Board, Washington DC.

This message was transmitted at 4:46 PM Eastern Time (U.S.A.) on February 3,

 (WASHINGTON, D.C. – Feb. 3, 1999) The U.S. Chemical Safety 
and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) will join the investigation 
of an explosion that ripped through the historic Ford Motor Company 
River Rouge Plant in Dearborn, Mich. on Monday.

The explosion and fire occurred at the powerhouse that 
serves the 1,100 acre complex.  One employee was killed and 
thirty others injured. Twelve of the injured were reported to be 
in critical condition.

CSB Chairman Dr. Paul L. Hill, Jr. said the CSB would conduct a 
review of the incident and would reserve a decision to 
conduct a more comprehensive investigation until more fact-finding 
could be accomplished. “This is a tragedy in terms of the death, injuries 
and impact on the Ford workforce. Our prayers are with the families of 
those affected by the explosion, their coworkers and the members of 
the community in which this incident occurred,” Dr. Hill said.

 “In addition, there is likely to be a significant impact on the community 
and on the production capabilities of the Ford Motor Company. The CSB 
recognizes the severity of this event and will work closely and 
cooperatively with Ford and our state and federal partners to determine 
the likely cause of this incident,” Dr. Hill said. 

Dr. Hill also reported that members of the Ford management team 
have been in close contact with the CSB and that they are fully 
cooperating with all efforts to determine what may have 
caused the deadly explosion. The CSB is particularly interested in 
what role, if any, natural gas, coal dust or other hazardous materials 
may have played in the explosion.

The CSB will rely primarily on its review and evaluation of the 
investigation reports that will be prepared by local responders, the 
Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA), and 
the company’s own internal investigation. MIOSHA has been 
providing the CSB with information from the scene, and senior 
officials from federal OSHA have been in contact with the CSB 
and are sharing information.

CSB will also seek reports prepared by any other investigating organizations.

CSB will rely heavily on the results of MIOSHA’s final report, which 
by law may not be released and available for up to six months. Only 
then will  the Board be able to determine if additional studies will 
be required or whether safety recommendations will be issued.

The Chemical Safety Board is an independent federal agency with 
the mission of ensuring the safety of workers and the public by 
preventing or minimizing the effects of industrial and commercial chemical 
incidents. Congress modeled it after the National Transportation Safety 
Board (NTSB), which investigates aircraft and other transportation accidents 
for the purpose of improving safety. 

Like the NTSB, the CSB is a scientific investigatory organization. CSB is 
responsible for finding ways to prevent or minimize the effects of 
chemical accidents at industrial facilities and in transport; the Board 
is not an enforcement or regulatory body.
CSB is currently reviewing or investigating incidents in Arizona, Arkansas, 
California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana (3), Maryland, Michigan 
(2), Missouri, New Jersey (2), New York, Ohio (2), Oklahoma, Oregon,
(2), South Dakota, Texas and Washington State (3). 

The Board’s reference number for this Incident Review is 99-012-R-MI


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Alex J. Sagady & Associates        Email:  ajs@sagady.com
Environmental Consulting and Database Systems
PO Box 39  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039  
(517) 332-6971 (voice); (517) 332-8987 (fax)

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