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.

  • Operation Florian

Sign up: eMagazine & eNewsletter

The latest issues in your inbox.

Company Profiles

HazSim - Bringing situational HazMat training to life

HazSim, LLC provides innovative simulation training to ensure your team works safely and effectively. HazSim Pro simulation equipment is in use by hundreds of fire departments, training schools, industrial fire teams, and private trainers across the US, Canada and further afield as well as the US Army.

Revolutionizing fire fighting foam technology

The one-stop resource for fire fighting foam concentrates and custom-designed foam suppression systems hardware.

Advancing rescue technology

The specialist supplier of quality PPE and Rescue Equipment to Emergency Services.

The ultimate in innovation, quality and service

For 60 years Lehavot has been delivering the world’s most advanced fire detection and suppression automatic systems

Trust the best, let us be your foam solution

AUXQUIMIA is a Spanish company whose main activity is the design, manufacture and commercialization of firefighting foam concentrates.

Williams Fire & Hazard Control offers a full line of specialized fire response equipment for oil and gas platforms

From storage tanks and pipeline emergencies to offshore platforms and vessels at sea, Williams' response personnel and specialized equipment quickly address adverse fire emergencies.

Foam fights fire

Europe’s foremost fire fighting foam manufacturer has been developing and producing foams since the 1920s.

The leader in truck-mounted hydraulic platforms

Our mission is to provide the best and the safest solution to professionals that work at height.

The independent alternative

Dafo Fomtec AB is a privately owned company with head office in Stockholm Sweden and manufacturing in Helsingborg in the south of Sweden.

If you want quality, you want Zico

Since its inception Ziamatic Corp has provided the men and women of the fire service with products designed to make their jobs safer and easier.

Calendar