More than 1,000 federal and state inspections under the OSHA combustible dust National Emphasis Program uncovered more than 4,000 violations.

Combustible Dust Activist Also Hosting Meetings

Across the street from the site of OSHA's Dec. 14 meetings in Washington, D.C., John Astad will lead group discussions of OSHA's proposed rulemaking.

John Astad, director and research analyst of the Combustible Dust Policy Institute, located in Santa Fe, Texas, has been a leading voice in the private sector researching combustible dust fires and explosions and discussing this hazard via the institute's blog and a LinkedIn group. Concerned that American industry is not as focused on the upcoming OSHA meetings about its planned combustible dust rulemaking, Astad has reserved the Latrobe Room of the Grand Hyatt Washington, located at 1000 H St. NW in Washington, D.C., to host two meetings the same day. The Grand Hyatt is across the street from the Washington Marriott at Metro Center, 775 12th St. NW, where OSHA's meetings will take place.

Astad's meetings will be held from 7 to 8:30 a.m. and from noon to 1 p.m. that day. The two OSHA sessions are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

"This convenient meeting place will provide everyone an opportunity to share ideas and topics concerning the proposed OSHA Combustible Dust Rulemaking," Astad wrote in a post on the blog. "I've initially made reservations for 35 person capacity. This could change if more stakeholder interest is developed."

He said there is no cost to attend his meetings, but he hopes to line up sponsors who will help him defray the approximately $900 expense for the room.

OSHA's notice announcing its meetings said additional meetings are planned for early 2010. To participate in one of the scheduled or future stakeholder meetings, you must submit a notice of intent to participate by registering at https://www2.ergweb.com/projects/conferences/osha/register-osha-stakeholder.htm or fax the request to 781-674-2906, labeled "Attention: OSHA Combustible Dust Stakeholder Meeting Registration." It also may be mailed or couriered to ERG, Inc., 110 Hartwell Ave., Lexington, MA 02421, with the same labeling requested.

Combustible dusts may be present from wood, coal, plastics, biosolids, candy, sugar, spice, starch, flour, feed, grain, fertilizer, tobacco, paper, soap, rubber, drugs, dried blood, dyes, certain textiles, and metals, according to OSHA, and in industries that include animal food manufacturing, grain handling, food manufacturing, wood product manufacturing, chemical manufacturing, textile manufacturing, furniture manufacturing, metal processing, fabricated metal products and machinery manufacturing, pesticide manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, tire manufacturing, plastics and rubber products manufacturing, recycling, wastewater treatment, and coal handling.

In its October 2009 status report on its combustible dust National Emphasis Program, which applies to 64 industries, OSHA said more than 1,000 federal and state inspections had taken place under the program, with more than 4,900 violations found at inspected facilities; 74 percent of the federal violations and 34 percent of the state violations were classified as serious. The report lists 32 General Duty Clause violations found during these inspections.

The meetings will be group discussions about possible regulatory approaches, the scope and organization of the standard, the role of consensus standards, economic impacts, and additional topics as time permits, according to the notice.

Eastern Research Group will provide a facilitator and compile notes summarizing the discussion without identifying individual speakers. The notes will be posted in the docket for the Combustible Dust ANPRM (Docket ID OSHA2009-0023) at http://www.regulations.gov.

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