CSB calls on NFPA to issue hazardous waste standard

In response to a recent chemical fire and fatality, Chemical Safety Board (CSB) Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso has urged the Environmental Technology Council (ETC) to petition the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to issue a specific hazardous waste standard that would provide guidance to treatment, storage, and disposal facilities that handle such materials.

The most recent incident resulted in a flash fire that occurred when workers were attempting to split large solid waste drums of flammable inorganic chemicals into smaller drums.

"Unfortunately accidents at hazardous waste processing facilities are all too common," said Moure-Eraso in a statement. "The standard would provide guidance to prevent the occurrence of fires, explosions, and releases at these types of facilities."

As an independent federal agency, the CSB investigates chemical accidents, including those caused by equipment failures, inadequate regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems. The ETC is a hazardous waste industry trade group consisting of people inside and outside of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that exchange information and review technology solutions for environmental problems. NFPA develops fire prevention codes and standards that may be incorporated into Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

In its efforts to help protect hazardous waste workers, OSHA's Hazardous Waste Standards state that all workers must wear appropriate personal protective equipment, which includes totally-encapsulated chemical protective suits, self-contained breathing apparatuses, and all general safety products such as work gloves and safety glasses

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