Those in the safety community who are concerned about combustible dust fires and explosions are avidly folllowing the OSHA meetings.

Combustible Dust Stakeholder Meetings Slated for Chicago

Individuals interested in participating must register by submitting a notice of intent to participate by April 7.

OSHA has scheduled its latest informal stakeholder meetings to continue soliciting comments and suggestions for protecting workers from combustible dust hazards in the workplace.

This set of meetings is the third in a series addressing combustible dust hazards. The first meetings were held in Washington, D.C. A second meeting was held in Atlanta to facilitate participation by families of victims of the Feb. 7, 2008, explosion at an Imperial Sugar Co. plant in Port Wentworth, Ga., which killed 14 workers and resulted in OSHA issuing nearly $8.8 million in penalties.

The Chicago meetings will be held April 21 at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. CDT at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel and Conference Center, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, Ill. A Federal Register notice is available at here. OSHA will consider participants' comments in developing a proposed standard for combustible dust.

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. According to OSHA, since 1980, more than 130 workers have been killed and more than 780 injured in combustible dust explosions.

Individuals interested in participating must register by submitting a notice of intent to participate by April 7. Notices can be submitted electronically by registering at https://www2.ergweb.com/projects/conferences/osha/register-osha-stakeholder.htm. Registrations also can be faxed to 781-674-2906 or mailed to ERG Inc., 110 Hartwell Ave., Lexington, MA 02421. Registrations that are faxed or mailed should be labeled "Attention: OSHA Combustible Dust Stakeholder Meeting Registration."

For general and technical information, the public may contact Mat Chibbaro, OSHA, Office of Safety Systems, at 202-693-2255. Media inquiries should be directed to Brad Mitchell or Scott Allen, Office of Public Affairs, 312-353-6976.

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