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.
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.
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
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".
The phenolic resin powder materials sold to CTA by the supplier are not
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
* 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.