Imperial Warned Two Days Before Refinery Explosion

September 19, 2009 - Imperial Sugar Explosion

According to news reports, a consultant warned Imperial Sugar about combustible dust hazards at its Georgia refinery just two days before a deadly explosion devastated the plant near Savannah.

The Savannah Morning News reports that consultant McAljon Engineering warned of impaired dust collection systems at the refinery in a report dated Feb. 5, 2008. A huge explosion rocked the plant two days later, killing 14 and injuring scores more. Many of the injured workers sufferred devastating third-degree burns.

OSHA later blamed the explosion on sugar dust that ignited like gunpowder. Fourteen workers died and dozens more were injured. Had Imperial followed even the most basic housekeeping standards, the refinery explosion could have been avoided.

OSHA said last year that its investigation revealed Imperial knew about the hazards of cimbustible dust since 2002.

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