OSHA issues new combustible dust instruction
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued this week a new safety and health instruction that details its policies and procedures for inspecting workplaces that handle combustible dusts and that may have the potential for a dust explosion.
”With this National Emphasis Program, we will focus our efforts on the fire and explosion hazards that may exist at facilities where combustible dusts accumulate,” said Edwin G. Foulke, Jr., assistant secretary of labor for OSHA. “A combustible dust fire and/or explosion is a potential hazard to America’s working men and women. This instruction will be a valuable resource for those who inspect industrial facilities in the United States.”
Combustible dusts are often either organic or metal dusts that are finely ground into very small particles, fibers, chips, and/or flakes. They can come from metal, wood, plastic and organic materials such as grain, flour, sugar, paper, soap and dried blood. Dusts can also come from textile materials. Some of the industries in which combustible dusts are particularly prevalent include the chemical, textile, furniture, agriculture, and forest industries.
The instruction provides detailed information on OSHA’s inspection scheduling, resource allocation, inspection resources and procedures. This information can be particularly useful in educating businesses on how to achieve compliance with OSHA requirements in advance of an inspection. The instruction is available here .