OSHA to Hold Informal Meetings on Proposed Combustible Dust Standard

OSHA has scheduled two informal stakeholder meetings to solicit comments and suggestions on combustible dust hazards in the workplace. The agency said it will use comments from these meetings in developing a proposed standard for combustible dust. The meetings are scheduled for Feb. 17 at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., at the Marriott Perimeter Center, 246 Perimeter Center Parkway, Atlanta, Ga., 30346.

Since 1980, more than 130 workers have been killed and more than 780 injured in combustible dust explosions. A Feb. 7, 2008, explosion at an Imperial Sugar Co. plant in Port Wentworth, Ga., killed 14 people and resulted in OSHA issuing nearly $8.8 million in penalties. OSHA is holding the meeting in Atlanta to make it easy for victims' families and others with relevant information about this deadly incident to attend.

"Fourteen people were killed in a combustible dust explosion that was preventable. The deaths need to stop," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. "Information gathered from these meetings will help OSHA move ahead on this urgently needed standard and prevent more deaths from combustible dust explosions."

Combustible dusts are solids ground into fine particles, fibers, chips, chunks, or flakes that can cause a fire or explosion when suspended in air under certain conditions. Types of dusts include metal (aluminum and magnesium), wood, plastic or rubber, coal, flour, sugar, and paper, among others.

Those interested in participating must register by submitting a notice of intent to participate by Feb. 3. Notices can be submitted electronically by registering at https://www2.ergweb.com/projects/conferences/osha/register-osha-stakeholder.htm. Submissions can also be faxed to 781-674-2906 with the following noted: "Attention: OSHA Combustible Dust Stakeholder Meeting Registration," or mailed to ERG, Inc., 110 Hartwell Avenue, Lexington, Mass., 02421; Attention: OSHA Combustible Dust Stakeholder Meeting Registration.

For general and technical information, contact David Wallis, OSHA, Office of Engineering Safety, at 202-693-2277. Press inquiries should be directed to Jennifer Ashley, OSHA, Office of Communications, at 202-693-1999.

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