Chemical Hazard News Highlights – April 27, 2015

At MSDSonline, we’re committed to keeping our customers informed about EHS news from around the country and around the world.

Here are some chemical hazard highlights from this week that you may have missed:

  • The Governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, issued a new order prohibiting all state regulatory agencies—including those related to EHS — from issuing new regulations. According to the Governor’s office, this is being done to give the new governor, elected earlier this year, time to evaluate regulations that are currently in place. The governor has said his goal is “only those regulations which are mandated by law or essential to the health, safety, environment or welfare of the Commonwealth's residents shall be retained or modified.”  However, under this definition, the administration may still make freezes or reductions in the EHS space. Agencies would be able to propose new regulations under the new order, but these would have to be submitted to the state for approval, and would then also have to meet a series of new criteria set forth by the governor’s office.
  • A chemical explosion at a plant in Dayton, Ohio injured a worker and shut down operations at the plant temporarily. The explosion also resulted in a nearby road closure. The plan is owned by Alfebro, a manufacturer of extracts and flavorings. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.
  • The Center For Effective Government — a nonpartisan government watchdog group — issued a report examining the progress of emergency response planning and hazardous chemical reporting on the anniversary of the West, Texas chemical explosion disaster. The report found that despite the efforts of many entities, disclosure practices around hazardous chemicals are still in many cases “inadequate and insufficient.”
  • The Colorado Gazette reported on the trend of train accidents and derailments that have the potential to result in hazardous chemical incidents. The report made the case that many residents are often unaware when hazardous materials are passing through their communities, and with what frequencies.
  • A Dover, New Hampshire paper reported on a manufacturer of acrylic and wooden sign holders who received a $63,700 penalty after an OSHA inspection found repeated violations for chemical safety. The company had already been fined over $21,000 for chemical safety violation in 2013. The new recent OSHA inspection found that plant employees were overexposed to methylene chloride during wood laminating work, and that recommended engineering controls had not been put in place to reduce exposure.
  • A FedEx facility in Bangor, Maine suffered a fire and hazardous chemical spill that forced a building evacuation and sent one employee to the hospital. The fire originated in a trailer on the exterior of the facility. Two roads were closed as a result of the incident.
  • A hazardous chemical release of titanium chloride at a DuPont chemical plant resulted in an accidental dispersal through the facility’s smokestack. Officials believed the chemical had built up in the smokestack over time. DuPont employees were able to dissolve the released chemicals in water, and the EPA was notified that the release quantity was below the mandatory reporting threshold.
  • A science website reported that a new UCLA study found that labs on college campuses experience fewer chemical accidents and injuries when the lab’s supervisor or lead faculty member is actively involved in safety programs.