Florida’s Failure to adopt CSB recommendation ‘unacceptable’

Published:  21 July, 2011

Florida’s inaction and failure to adopt a CSB recommendation to provide federal-level workplace protections for state and municipal public workers is an ‘unacceptable response.’

It is the first time that a US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) recommendation issued to a state and its legislature has been closed due to an unacceptable response by the recipient. At the same time, CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso called on the state to reconsider legislation that would provide adequate workplace protection for public employees.

The recommendation was originally issued by the CSB presidentially-appointed board in 2007 following an extensive investigation into a January 11, 2006, methanol fire and explosion at the Bethune Wastewater Treatment plant in Daytona Beach that killed two public employees and seriously injured a third.  

Sparks from a welding torch used by Daytona Beach city workers above a tank of methanol ignited vapors that exploded. The CSB found that the if the city had implemented  hot work and hazardous communication (HAZCOM) programs conforming to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety standards, “the hazards of using a torch in proximity to the methanol tank would likely have been identified and possibly prevented.”  In Florida, OSHA safety and health protections apply to private employees, but not public employees, even though many such workers perform potentially hazardous work. 

In a letter to Florida Governor Rick Scott, CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso noted that in recent years, proposed legislation to provide workplace protections for public workers had been strongly supported by a broad coalition of trade groups, businesses, and unions but failed to pass in 2009 and 2010.  “Since no bill to secure health and safety protections for Florida’s public employees was introduced during the 2011 legislative sessions, the Board has concluded that neither you nor the State Legislature intend to take action to implement the CSB’s recommendations.”

Chairman Moure-Eraso urged state officials to take up the recommendation anew, saying in the letter to Governor Scott, “The Board maintains that implementation of these recommendations is necessary to secure the health and safety of Florida's public employees. We therefore strongly encourage you and your colleagues in the state legislature to reconsider the CSB's recommendations.”

Chairman Moure-Eraso said, “Florida’s inaction is unacceptable as it means public employees doing potentially hazardous work have inadequate workplace protections – which they would have if they were private-sector workers. The CSB has found that currently 27 states and jurisdictions operate safety and health programs for their public employees.  There can be little doubt that these basic workplace standards help prevent accidents and save lives in those states.”

The CSB’s Bethune investigation found that in addition to the accident that occurred at the wastewater treatment plant in Daytona Beach, 33 other chemical-related incidents had occurred in Florida from 2003 to 2007. These incidents all involved chemicals that would be covered by the federal OSHA hazard communication regulations.

Sign up: eMagazine & eNewsletter

The latest issues in your inbox.

Company Profiles

XVR Simulation Software, training software for safety and security

XVR is virtual reality training software for the training, education and assessment of incident response professionals – fire & rescue, police ambulance and civil defence. XVR is used by schools and training centres, emergency services, industrial companies and critical infrastructure owners in 23 countries worldwide.

Spectrex Inc. – Optical Flame and Open Path Gas Detectors

Spectrex Inc. is a world leader in optical flame and combustible gas detection, with over 30 years experience in providing solution for the protection of high-risk onshore and offshore oil & gas, chemical and petrochemical sites, including protection of storage tanks, filling operations, aircraft hangars, atria and many other areas where hydrocarbons fires are a concern.

DuPont™ Nomex®; Proven heat stress protection for firefighters

DuPont is the inventor and the world’s largest producer of high-performance materials and solutions with leading world brands such as DuPont™ Nomex®, Kevlar®, Teflon® and Tyvek®, providing personal protection, be it thermal, mechanical or chemical, to over 90 countries.

argus: experts in thermal imaging

argus® are a division of e2v Technologies Ltd. Since the 1940’s e2v have developed imaging solutions for use in some of the World’s most exciting ventures, from monitoring environmental changes on Earth to helping NASA’s Curiosity Rover detect the elements, which could support life on Mars.

Solberg – the new standard in firefighting foam

Solberg is the one-stop resource for firefighting foam concentrates and custom-designed foam suppression systems hardware. With our unique offering of environmentally sustainable fluorosurfactant and fluoropolymer-free foam concentrates, and traditional firefighting foam concentrates, Solberg leads the industry in firefighting foam innovation.

Holmatro - Mastering Power

Holmatro Rescue Equipment develops, manufactures, sells and services high-pressure hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanical rescue equipment. With a comprehensive dealer network on all continents, manufacturing plants in the Netherlands (head office) and USA, and sales offices in China and UK, we supply our products and services to fire and rescue organizations all over the world.

Dr Sthamer - Hamburg: foam fights fire

Dr Sthamer – Hamburg, has been developing and manufacturing state-of-the art firefighting foams since the 1920’s. Having been founded in 1886 by Dr Richard Sthamer, we are still proudly owned and managed by the Sthamer family. Our base is still at the original site where we started in, on the banks of the Bille River in Hamburg Germany.

Suppliers Database

Search either by product or company name:

Product:

Company:

Calendar

IFP Chinese NFPA NFPA First Class Firefighter Resource