Below is an update from Safety Smart Today on combustible dust and how OSHA has reacted since the infamous Imperial Sugar explosion. Read on…
Combustible Dust Update
The Imperial Sugar explosion served as a national wake-up call on the dangers of combustible dusts. OSHA began work on a new standard for combustible dusts.
Five years later, we’re still waiting on OSHA to issue a final rule. But while combustible dusts are no closer to OSHA regulation, combustible dust deaths continue. Since the Imperial tragedy, there have been 50 combustible dust explosions or fires, causing 15 deaths and 127 injuries, according to estimates from the CSB.
So now the Congress is taking up the slack. Last month, House Democrats re-introduced a bill first tabled in 2008 that would require an OSHA standard on combustible dusts within a year.
The Worker Protection Against Combustible Dust Explosions and Fires Act (H.R.691) is good politics for Democrats seeking to curry favor with labor. But, alas, it’s likely to have little more actual impact on OSHA combustible dust rule-making than the original had when it was proposed 5 years ago.