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    U.S. CHEMICAL SA FETY A ND HA ZA RD INVESTIGATION B OARD

    INVESTIGATION REPORT

    Report No. 2008-05-I-GASeptember 2009

    SUGAR DUST EXPLOSION AND FIRE(14 Killed, 36 Injured)

    IMPERIAL SUGAR COMPANY

    PORT WENTWORTH,GEORGIA

    FEBRUARY 7,2008

    KEY ISSUES:

    COMBUSTIBLE DUST HAZARD RECOGNITION

    MINIMIZING COMBUSTIBLE DUSTACCUMULATION IN THE WORKPLACE

    EQUIPMENT DESIGN AND MAINTENANCE

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    Contents

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY .......................................................................................................................... 1

    1.0 INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................... 31.1 Background ......................................................................................................................... 3

    1.2 Investigative Process ........................................................................................................... 5

    1.3 Imperial Sugar Company .................................................................................................... 6

    1.3.1 Corporate Governance ............................................................................................ 6

    1.3.2 Corporate and Facility Management ...................................................................... 7

    1.4 Facility Description ............................................................................................................. 8

    1.4.1 Granulated Sugar Storage Silos ............................................................................ 10

    1.4.2 Silos 1 and 2 Steel Conveyor Belt ........................................................................ 14

    1.4.3 Bosch Packing Building ....................................................................................... 15

    1.4.4 South Packing Building ........................................................................................ 16

    1.4.5 Sugar Spillage and Dust Control .......................................................................... 17

    2.0 INCIDENT DESCRIPTION .......................................................................................................... 19

    2.1 Explosions and fires .......................................................................................................... 19

    2.2 Emergency Response ........................................................................................................ 21

    3.0 INCIDENT ANALYSIS ................................................................................................................ 223.1 Combustible Dust Characteristics ..................................................................................... 22

    3.2 Combustible Dust Explosions ........................................................................................... 26

    3.3 The Port Wentworth Incident............................................................................................ 27

    3.3.1 Pre-explosion Sugar Dust Incident History .......................................................... 28

    3.3.2 Steel Belt Conveyor Modifications ...................................................................... 29

    3.3.3 Primary Event Location ........................................................................................ 29

    3.3.4 Primary Event Combustible Dust Source ............................................................. 32

    3.3.5 Secondary Dust Explosions .................................................................................. 34

    3.4 Ignition Sources ................................................................................................................ 35

    3.4.1 Open Flames and Hot Surfaces ............................................................................ 35

    3.4.2 Ignition Sources Inside the Steel Belt Enclosure .................................................. 36

    3.5 Worker Training ............................................................................................................... 37

    3.6 Hazards Management ....................................................................................................... 39

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    3.6.1 Evacuation, Fire Alarms, and Fire Suppression ................................................... 39

    3.6.2 Electrical Systems Design .................................................................................... 40

    3.6.3 Sugar Dust Handling Equipment .......................................................................... 44

    3.6.4 Housekeeping and Dust Control ........................................................................... 45

    3.7 Dust Explosion Hazard Awareness ................................................................................... 47

    3.7.1 Imperial Sugar Management and Workers ........................................................... 47

    3.7.2 Property Risk Insurers .......................................................................................... 51

    4.0 REGULATORY ANALYSIS ........................................................................................................ 53

    4.1 Georgia Fire Codes ........................................................................................................... 53

    4.2 Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ................................................ 54

    5.0 MODEL FIRE CODES.................................................................................................................. 56

    5.1 National Fire Protection Association ................................................................................ 565.2 International Code Council ............................................................................................... 57

    6.0 TRADE ASSOCIATIONS ............................................................................................................ 58

    6.1 AIB International .............................................................................................................. 58

    6.2 American Bakers Association ........................................................................................... 59

    6.3 The Sugar Association ...................................................................................................... 59

    6.4 Sugar Industry Technologists ........................................................................................... 60

    7.0 PREVIOUS CSB DUST EXPLOSION INVESTIGATIONS ....................................................... 61

    8.0 KEY FINDINGS: .......................................................................................................................... 63

    9.0 INCIDENT CAUSES .................................................................................................................... 65

    10.0 RECOMMENDATIONS ............................................................................................................... 66

    10.1 Imperial Sugar Company .................................................................................................. 66

    10.2 AIB International .............................................................................................................. 67

    10.3 American Bakers Association ........................................................................................... 68

    10.4 Risk Insurance Management Society, Inc ......................................................................... 68

    10.5 Zurich Services Corporation ............................................................................................. 68

    11.0 REFERENCES .............................................................................................................................. 70

    APPENDIX A INCIDENT EVENT SEQUENCE .................................................................................. 72

    APPENDIX B EXPLOSION PROGRESSION IN PACKING BUILDINGS ........................................ 81

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    Figures

    Figure 1. West bucket elevator tower; silos 3, 2, and 1; and south packing building ............................... 4

    Figure 2. Imperial Sugar Company organization prior to the incident ..................................................... 7

    Figure 3. Port Wentworth, Georgia, organization prior to the incident ................................................... 8

    Figure 4. Imperial Sugar facility before the explosion. ............................................................................ 9

    Figure 5. Packing buildings first floor plan ........................................................................................... 11

    Figure 6. Silo tunnel and conveyor plan ................................................................................................. 12

    Figure 7. Granulated sugar supply and discharge through the silos ....................................................... 13

    Figure 8. Granulated sugar steel conveyor belts above the silos ............................................................ 14

    Figure 9. Silo tunnel steel conveyor belt ................................................................................................ 14

    Figure 10. Violent fireball erupting from the facility .............................................

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