Issue Date: May 11, 2009
OSHA To Propose Dust Rule
OSHA is developing a comprehensive regulation on combustible dust. More than 130 workers have been killed and more than 780 have been injured in dust explosions since 1980, OSHA officials said when announcing the proposal. Dust regulations could affect tens of thousands of companies with plants that generate nanosized particles of combustible materials and the many workers in those operations. The agency is evaluating possible regulatory methods and is requesting data and comments on the proposed rule. Investigations by the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board of a wide range of dust-related industrial accidents, several in the chemical industry, resulted in the board's recommendation in 2006 that OSHA issue a combustible dust standard. OSHA refused to issue a rule at that time and instead looked to a "national emphasis program" to focus inspectors' attention on dust problems. Pressure on OSHA increased, however, and following a sugar dust accident in early 2008 that killed 14 workers, several members of Congress announced intentions to force OSHA to issue regulations.
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