OSHA provides guidance on combustible dust safety

RP news wires, Noria Corporation
Tags: workplace safety

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has posted a new Combustible Dust Safety and Health Topics Web page at www.osha.gov/dsg/combustibledust/index.html to help employers address hazardous combustible dust and provide recommendations to prevent and control these hazards.

"Fires and explosions resulting from combustible dust can pose a significant danger at the workplace," said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Edwin G. Foulke Jr. "This new safety and health topics page is part of a long-term, ongoing program in OSHA to address these hazards and assure safe and healthful working conditions."

Certain combustible substances, when divided into a dust-like form and suspended in air, can become explosive. Industries that have combustible dust include food (for example, candy, sugar, spice, starch, flour and feed), grain, tobacco, plastics, wood, paper, pulp, rubber, furniture, textiles, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dyes, coal, metals (for example, aluminum, chromium, iron, magnesium and zinc) and fossil fuel power generation. Combustible dust may have been a cause of an explosion at a Georgia sugar refinery plant. An OSHA Safety and Health Information Bulletin at www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib073105.html reminds employers of the dangers associated with combustible dust and encourages employers to address such hazards at their worksites. OSHA has in place many relevant standards to address combustible dust hazards – including requirements for hazard communication, housekeeping, emergency action plans, ventilation and hazardous locations.

The Web page also features a link to the National Emphasis Program on Combustible Dust (www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=DIRECTIVES&p_id=3729) that provides information on compliance with existing standards, an understanding of the hazard, and methods of abatement and collection of data for analysis. The new page also incorporates information on directives as well as OSHA and national census standards.

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