Feds, looking to Texas blast, release chemical safety guide

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“Ammonium nitrate can be very dangerous, and it’s imperative that employers, workers and first responders all understand the hazards,” said David Michaels, assistant Labor secretary for occupational safety and health, in a statement. “With this understanding, together they can control these hazards and save lives and limbs.”

The advisory tells businesses and workers how to avert fires and other accidents at their facilities, and gives tips on what to do in emergencies.

Supporters of tougher standards praised the announcement.

In a statement, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who has scolded the EPA for not developing stricter regulations, said that she was “very grateful” for the new advisory.

“If ammonium nitrate is stored safely or if alternatives are used, explosions could have been prevented in the past and more explosions could be prevented in the future,” she said.

The advisory was developed by a new working group on safety and security at chemical facilities.