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OSHA to Issue Combustible Dust ANPR Soon

It has been noted that OSHA’s ANPR (Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) on combustible dust will be published shortly in the Federal Register. The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is under the review of Office of Management and Budget which is a final step in the process of the intergovernmental review. Workers handling combustible dust hazards in the worksites are recommended and encouraged to participate in the rulemaking process.

Combustible dusts have been known to cause explosion or a fire. These dusts are solids which have ground into fine particles and when suspended in air, it becomes highly flammable. The force from this kind of explosive is so strong that it can cause death, injuries and destruction of the entire structure.

Some of the combustible dusts include rubber, sugar, coal, flour, paper and metal to name a few. OSHA has acknowledged various industries with combustible dust hazards which include agriculture, plastics, chemicals, food, grain, tire and rubber manufacturing, wood, paper, textiles, pharmaceuticals and metal processing.

There are certain OSHA standards which provide some level of protection against combustible dust but they don’t provide a single rule to protect workers from combustible dust explosions. After OSHA issues the ANPR, hopefully the occurrence and severity of future accidents will be reduced.

Over the past few decades, such combustible dust incidents have killed many workers and injured hundreds. OSHA is doing a great job in issuing the ANPR combustible dust rulemaking to tackle this problem.