Issue Date: May 5, 2008
Combustible Dust Bill Passed By House
In the wake of a sugar plant explosion in February that killed 13 workers and injured scores more, the House passed legislation on April 30 requiring OSHA to quickly institute a mandatory regulatory program for combustible dust in all industrial settings. H.R. 5522, introduced by Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.) and John Barrow (D-Ga.), would require OSHA to issue interim rules to control explosive dust within 90 days and final regulations within 18 months. The bill passed the House on a 247 to 165 vote; no action has been set in the Senate. Pressure for the mandatory OHSA regulations stemmed from past recommendations by the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board; a board study found that between 1980 and 2005, 119 workers were killed and 718 were injured in industrial dust explosions (C&EN, Feb. 25, page 33). The White House opposes the bill, particularly provisions requiring an expedited implementation schedule. The Bush Administration noted that 200,000 workplaces could be affected and promised a veto.
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