OSHA Seeking Input on Combustible Dust Hazards in Lead Up to New Rule

On June 28, 2010, OSHA took another step toward modernizing the way it interacts and communicates with employers and safety professionals with its first ever virtual stakeholder's meeting. Combustible dust was the inaugural topic and over 400 people participated in the online event.

OSHA is developing a rule to address the hazards of combustible dusts which encompass a wide variety of materials, industries and processes. While the live Q&A session is completed, OSHA is still seeking input on the four questions posed in the Web chat and previous stakeholder meetings:

  1. How should OSHA define combustible dust?
  2. Which administrative controls and engineering controls are better addressed by performance-based requirements and which are better addressed by specification-based requirements?
  3. Are there portions of these types of facilities that are not protected by the current grain dust standard? If so, what are they and what should OSHA do to address those areas?
  4. What kinds of costs and benefits do you foresee from a proposed rule? What alternatives should OSHA consider that could minimize costs without sacrificing safety? How will a possible rule affect existing businesses? How will it affect new businesses trying to start up? How can impacts (especially for small businesses) be minimized without sacrificing safety?

Anyone wishing to participate can add comments to the Web Blog, which will remain active through July 7, 2010. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has a number of videos detailing the hazards of combustible dust.