Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Reader Comment – Didion Response to CSB Report

Today, I received an email from a public relations firm in Madison, WI. The representative provided a statement attributed to Didion about the recent CSB accident investigation [removed from paywall]. There is no name associated with the statement. With those background caveats, here is the un-edited statement:

“Didion Milling is pleased that the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigations Board  (CSB) agrees with Didion that the tragic 2017 explosion that occurred at its Cambria, Wisconsin mill was not started by fugitive dust relating to housekeeping procedures but resulted from the ignition of corn dust inside process equipment. However, Didion disagrees with much of CSB’s report. Both Didion and leading combustible dust safety experts provided the agency with data to correct the report’s many factual errors; however, CSB did not include a significant amount of that information in its report.

“The majority of recommendations in CSB’s report had already been implemented when Didion built its new mill in 2018. The new mill was designed and constructed with the guidance of several leading engineering and safety experts to exceed industry safety and quality standards. Didion continually evaluates safety procedures and equipment to remain consistent with – if not ahead of – industry best practices.

“Didion continues to hold those lost and injured in the accident in our hearts and joins with them, their loved ones, and our communities in the spirit of healing.”

The PR firm did not provide any supporting information, nor am I qualified to evaluate any such information if it had been provided. I suspect, however, that the portion of the comment stating “was not started by fugitive dust relating to housekeeping procedures” may be related to the recent convictions of a number of company personnel “for charges of falsifying documents and conspiracy to obstruct and mislead OSHA investigators in their investigation of the 2017 deadly dust explosion at Didion Milling” about which I reported back in October.

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