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OSHA Issues Proposed Standard On Combustible Dust

James A. Morrissey, Washington Correspondent

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in the October 21 Federal Register, proposing a rule covering combustible dust created by 64 industries, including textiles. Combustible dusts are solids ground into fine particles or fibers that can cause a fire or explosion when suspended in air. Although there have not been any major problems with textile dust, OSHA nonetheless included textiles and textile products on the list of products that could be subject to a new standard.

Since October 2007, OSHA has been conducting studies of combustible dust, and it has found what it says is an unusually high number of general duty clause violations, indicating a need for a strong combustible standard.

The public has 90 days to comment on the proposed standard, and OSHA says it also will be holding stakeholder meetings and analyze comments before moving forward with a standard.

October 27, 2009