Safety and OSHA News

Bill would create new combustible dust standard

Preventing the accumulation of combustible dust in workplaces would become mandatory instead of just good safety practice if three members of Congress get their way.

The three have introduced a bill that would require OSHA to issue a rule regarding the explosion hazard.

The bill is similar to one that passed the U.S. House last year but wasn’t acted upon in the Senate.

OSHA would be required to issue an interim rule within 90 days and a final rule within 18 months after the bill is signed into law. It would also force OSHA to add combustible dust to its Hazard Communication standard.

Introduction of the bill comes about one year after the explosion at the Imperial Sugar plant in Port Wentworth, GA, that killed 14 employees and resulted in OSHA fines of more than $8 million.

The bill would have wide-ranging effect because of the types of dust that would be regulated:

  • organic (sugar, candy, paper, soap and dried blood)
  • plastics and rubber
  • sulfur
  • wood
  • furniture
  • textiles
  • pesticides
  • pharmaceuticals
  • fibers
  • dyes, and
  • coal, metals and fossil fuels.

To read the entire bill, click here and enter HR 849.

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