Enforcement and Inspection

Combustible Dust: What Might a New Standard Require?

If OSHA accedes to Congressional demands and passes a dust standard for general industry, what would you need to do? A look into HR 5522 suggests an answer:

Yesterday’s Advisor detailed the dustup that’s been raging in Washington over the issue of combustible dust.

This dust, which can be generated in a number of industrial and agricultural pursuits from substances ranging from flour, wood, paper, and plastic, to magnesium and aluminum, can be ignited by a heat source with bomb-like force. Dust fires and explosions have taken 119 lives since 1980 and injured more than 700. Thirteen recent fatalities resulted from an explosion of sugar dust accumulated in a Georgia processing plant earlier this year.


A new OSHA standard regulating combustible dust may be on the way. Be ready before it happens. Attend BLR’s June 25 audio conference, Combustible Dust: How to Protect Your Workplace from this Insidious Hazard. Can’t attend that date? Preorder the CD.
Satisfaction assured. Click for full details.


OSHA, which issued dust control standards specific to grain processors in the 1980s, has declined to issue a more general standard, though it has sent advisories about the danger to more than 30,000 companies. Officials maintain that each industry and type of dust would require separate regulations and no “one-size-fits-all” regulation would work.

Critics have rejected such arguments and urged Congress to act, leading to the proposed Combustible Dust Explosion and Fire Prevention Act, H.R. 5522, which recently passed the House of Representatives by 247-165. Some 21 Republicans joined the Democratic majority. The bill now moves to the Senate.

Should the bill become law, it would call for “protection as effective as the National Fire Protection Association’s two voluntary standards (654 and 484) covering combustible dusts,” reports the website, safetycertified.blogspot.com. Here’s what actions would be required:

  •  Hazard assessments
  •  Written programs for dust inspection, testing, housekeeping, and control
  •   Engineering, administrative, and operating procedures to control “fugitive dust emissions” and ignition sources.
  •  Housekeeping controls on accumulations of dust
  •  Building design features such as sprinklers or explosion vents
  •  Explosion protection, including segregation of the hazard
  •  Employee participation in the hazard assessment, compliance with the standard, and hazard management
  •  Written safety and health information
  •  Employee training

Organizations that generate dust in their processes are advised to understand what would be needed in detail and to begin gathering information in preparation for meeting these requirements.

One way to do this is to attend BLR’s June 25 audio conference, Combustible Dust: How to Protect Your Workers and Your Workplace from this Insidious Hazard.


Your satisfaction with BLR’s June 25 audio conference, Combustible Dust: How to Protect Your Workplace from this Insidious Hazard, is assured or you get a full refund.
Can’t attend? Preorder the CD. Click for info.


The 90-minute conference will explain the hazards of dust in detail, and describe case-studies derived from past incidents, and practical steps you can and should take now to both protect your workers and prepare for what looks to be a tough new regulation.

The presenters, attorney Adele Adams, a nationally recognized expert in occupational safety and health law and Edwin P. Granberry, Jr., principal of Granberry and Associates, LLC, a top safety consultancy, will take your e-mailed or phoned questions immediately following the presentation. And, as always, there’s no extra fee no matter how many of your people listen in, and your satisfaction is assured or you get a full refund.

If you can’t attend, we recommend preordering the conference CD.  To get more information, to register, or to preorder the CD, just click here.

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