CORBIN, Ky., Feb. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- CTA Acoustics, Inc. today released the following statement regarding the explosion which occurred at its Corbin, Kentucky plant on February 20, 2003. Background: The insulation manufacturing plant in Corbin, Kentucky was designed and built by CertainTeed Corp. in 1973. CertainTeed owned and operated the plant until 1992, when the plant was sold to a group of former CertainTeed employees which operated the plant under the newly formed corporation CTA Acoustics. In October, 2001, the current management team of CTA Acoustics took over the operation of the plant. On February 20, 2003 an explosion took place at the plant which caused the deaths of seven employees and injured many more. The plant was destroyed. In October 2003, CTA opened a new facility at a new site in Corbin, Kentucky. Jahn Foundry: On February 25, 1999, less than three years before the CTA explosion, there was a similar explosion at the Jahn Foundry plant in Springfield, Massachusetts. This explosion involved the same type of phenolic resin powder as supplied by the same supplier as CTA used at the Corbin plant. Three people were killed and nine people were injured in an explosion that destroyed the Jahn Foundry plant. The injured workers and the families of the people who were killed in the explosion filed suit nine months later alleging that the supplier failed to properly warn of the dangers of its phenolic resin powder. The case was settled in 2003 shortly after the explosion at CTA. Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS): Under the federal law commonly known as the "Employee Right to Know" law, the manufacturer of the phenolic resin powder is required to disclose any known dangers in the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) provided to all customers. Despite the Jahn Foundry explosion, the MSDS furnished to CTA did not change. To this day, the MSDS provided by the supplier for phenolic resin powder does not disclose that the product is explosive. The rating scale the supplier provides to their customers like CTA rates their product as one on a scale of 1-4 meaning they consider it to be only "slightly flammable". The supplier MSDS describes the explosive characteristics of their phenolic resin powder as "not applicable" or "not available". Labels: The phenolic resin powder materials sold to CTA by the supplier are not labeled "EXPLOSIVE". Ignition Source for the CTA Explosion: The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board ("CSB") has recently issued a statement that indicates that the CTA explosion was ignited by a fire in an oven. CTA takes strong exception with this statement. The oven to which the CSB refers was not in production at the time of the explosion, and operated at a temperature much lower than the minimum ignition temperature of the product that would be found in the oven. These factors make the oven an unlikely source of ignition. CTA believes the exact source of ignition remains unknown. CTA's position on the explosion: * We were unaware of the explosive nature of this phenolic resin powder. * We relied upon the supplier and their MSDS for information regarding the material. * We believed that we had a very clean operation and a very safe operation. Over the years we had received numerous awards for plant safety. * OSHA had inspected the plant on a regular basis including an inspection in December, 2002 with no indication of explosive risks. * CTA's property insurers had inspected as recently as November, 2002 and provided a written report indicating that we were within the top 25% of all of the other locations visited by the insurer. Their report stated: "The site score of 90 is excellent ... ." CTA's Long-term investment in the Corbin area: Current management took over the company in October, 2001. We stepped in because we believed in CTA's unique products, in the people and in the region. When this explosion occurred, we were all devastated. But, we didn't cut and run. We didn't abandon the community at their most difficult time. We stayed and we remained committed to the Corbin area. We worked with the community leaders to find a new site. We brought in additional support. We invested in a new plant. We brought in one of the top industrial construction firms in the country. We invested in new technology and methods. We paid premiums to source the finest new equipment from around the world. We invested in developing new products and customers. Now aware of the explosive nature of the phenolic resin powder, we were able to establish new benchmarks for safety through the design, construction, equipment and procedures in our new facility in an effort to prevent such a tragedy as occurred on February 20, 2003 from ever occurring again. We are committed to our customers, employees and to the community.
SOURCE CTA Acoustics, Inc.