Combustible Dust Stakeholder Meeting
Atlanta, GA
February 17, 2010

Meeting Summary Report

April 13, 2010

Table of Contents













1 Introduction

On February 17, 2010, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) held two three-hour meetings at the Marriott Perimeter Center in Atlanta, Georgia. At these meetings, OSHA sought comments and feedback from stakeholders on workplace hazards associated with combustible dust. This report summarizes key points made during the informal meetings, addressing topics raised in the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) (74 FR 54334) of a combustible dust standard issued on October 21, 2009. When developing its proposed standard for combustible dust, OSHA will consider the information provided by stakeholders during this and other meetings held to gather input on the combustible dust issue.

A notice of the stakeholder meetings published in the Federal Register (Volume 75, Number 15, pages 3881–3883) on January 25, 2010, informed potential attendees that pre-meeting registration was required. The notice also provided a brief summary on combustible dust hazards and OSHA's proposed standard, outlined the topics for meeting discussion, and explained meeting logistics (e.g., number of allowed attendees, meeting times and location). The meetings were attended by people who were designated as either participants or observers. In total, 25 participants attended these two meetings - 18 in the morning session and seven in the afternoon session. Participants included employer and labor representatives from industries that may be regulated by the standard, as well as compliance managers, consultants, engineers (professional, environmental, and health and safety), industrial hygienists, attorneys, and other parties. All participants had an opportunity to provide verbal comments throughout the meetings. Members of the general public were allowed to observe the meetings. Observers were not allowed to participate in the morning session. Due to the relatively small number of participants in the afternoon, observers were given the opportunity to join the participants at the beginning of the session. One observer joined the participants. Sixty-five people attended the two meetings as observers - 42 in the morning session and 23 in the afternoon session.

The stakeholder meetings gave interested parties a setting to provide verbal comments on OSHA's proposed combustible dust standard. Though the deadline for submitting formal written comments on the ANPR (i.e., January 19, 2010) had passed, agency representatives said they would still consider comments received during these stakeholder meetings when developing the proposed standard.

Eastern Research Group, Inc. (ERG) provided logistical support for the stakeholder meetings, and an ERG technical writer attended the meetings and prepared this summary report. This report captures the main discussion points raised by stakeholders during the meetings, but is not a verbatim meeting transcript. The content of this report includes remarks made by individual stakeholders at the meetings. No portion of this document reflects or should be considered to represent the viewpoints or opinions of ERG.

Combustible Dust

Stakeholder Meeting
Atlanta, GA
February 17, 2010
Meeting Summary Report
Morning Session

2 Opening Remarks

Dorothy Dougherty, Director, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, welcomed the stakeholders and observers to the morning session of the Combustible Dust Stakeholder Meeting. Ms. Dougherty emphasized that the stakeholders should consider the meeting an informal discussion, rather than a formal meeting or hearing. She thanked the stakeholders for taking the time to share their thoughts, expertise, opinions, and concerns with the agency, and stressed that OSHA wanted to have open dialogue during the meeting to gather information from them. Ms. Dougherty noted that OSHA would place a meeting summary report in the rulemaking docket and on the agency's Web site. The summary report from the meetings held in December 2009 in Washington, D.C., was just posted in the docket and on the agency's Web site (

The purpose of these stakeholder meetings was to obtain the best possible data and information to enable OSHA to develop a protective, feasible, and legally defensible combustible dust standard. OSHA representatives presented information on several topics for which OSHA seeks stakeholder input in order to better focus its data-gathering and analytical efforts. OSHA has engaged in several activities over the last year to support the combustible dust rulemaking process, to better understand the scope of the hazard, and to keep abreast of the evolving information on mitigation methods, including:

  • Releasing the ANPR in October 2009.
  • Having technical staff actively participate on National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) committees.
  • Conducting research on hazards with combustible dust.
  • Hiring contractors to visit various facilities representing different industries with combustible dust hazards to gather information about the production processes, methods of preventing combustible dust explosions, and protection measures to mitigate deaths and injuries.

The deadline for submitting comments in response to the ANPR has passed, and analysis of those comments has already begun. The agency will continue to consider comments submitted on the ANPR as OSHA prepares a proposed rule, but only up until the point where doing so would not delay the process. Ms. Dougherty asked for volunteers to host OSHA visits to their facilities, or have anonymous visits conducted by the agency's contractor (ERG). She stressed the importance of information gathered during these site visits, noting that they were beneficial for the people writing the standard (to see what is happening in existing facilities) and helpful for the people who will be covered under the scope of the standard. The release date of the proposed standard is not known at this time, but Ms. Dougherty emphasized that this is a priority rulemaking for this administration and stakeholder input will help expedite OSHA's efforts. Ms. Dougherty introduced the OSHA and Department of Labor representatives present at the meeting who are working on the combustible dust rulemaking effort. She thanked the stakeholders for their time and participation.

3 Administration of the Meeting

The meeting facilitator, Virginia Fitzner of OSHA, provided an overview of the meeting logistics and format. Ms. Fitzner noted that the meeting was informal and interactive, and encouraged participants to speak freely. She indicated that any prepared written statements should be given to one of the panel members to be placed in the record and considered by the agency, and hard copies could also be sent into OSHA to be placed in the docket. The meeting was being recorded, but the summary report would not attribute any names to the stakeholder comments. She asked that the stakeholders introduce themselves and briefly mention who they represented so OSHA can take their comments in the proper context. OSHA was not there to answer their questions, but rather to consider their questions and comments when writing the standard.

4 Suggested Points for Group Discussion

OSHA representatives sought specific information regarding the use of NFPA standards, the scope of the pending combustible dust standard, the economic impact of implementing such a standard, and hazard mitigation practices. The following is a summary of the key stakeholder comments made during the meeting. Comments are grouped together by topic, without reference to the identity of the commenter.

4.1 NFPA Standards

Mat Chibbaro, Fire Protection Engineer, Office of Safety Systems, introduced the topic of NFPA standards. Traditionally, OSHA has used NFPA standards by either incorporating them by reference or by incorporating some of their language. In some instances, OSHA has included compliance alternatives, in which facilities can choose to comply with either OSHA's specific regulatory language or NFPA requirements. This has proved beneficial in the means of egress standard, for example, and that issue applies to diverse industries such as those with combustible dust. Use of multiple compliance options could especially help employers that already adhere to NFPA standards, either on a voluntary basis or as a requirement (e.g., under state or local codes). Given that OSHA is considering referencing NFPA standards in its combustible dust standard, OSHA asked stakeholders to comment on their experience with the NFPA standards.

Mr. Chibbaro posed the following questions: Do you use NFPA standards to mitigate the hazards of combustible dust? If so, what benefits or challenges have you encountered? What benefits or challenges do you foresee if OSHA uses NFPA standards as sanctioned compliance alternatives? Stakeholders provided the following comments and recommendations.

  • A comment expressed concern about which specific NFPA standards would apply under OSHA's regulation. For example, NFPA 61 covers agricultural dust, while NFPA 654 applies more generally to combustible dust. NFPA 61 is a very practical and feasible standard to comply with, but NFPA 654 is not broadly applicable to agricultural dusts (it literally excludes them in almost all respects). OSHA should use both NFPA 61 and NFPA 654 for the applications that they both respectively cover. In response, OSHA indicated that the most appropriate NFPA standard would be used for the specific underlying issue (e.g., metals standard used for metals).
  • The applicability of a standard is a problem: OSHA needs to indicate which NFPA standard applies to each hazard. For instance, OSHA looked at the dust captured in a dust collector at a certain facility. The dust was analyzed and it reportedly had a positive Kst value. When the facility was cited, the citation listed several OSHA standards and referenced NFPA 654 (combustible dust) and NFPA 484 (metals). However, it was unclear that either or both of these standards were truly applicable in this case. Standards should have clear criteria governing when they apply to a certain set of circumstances.
  • Many NFPA standards refer to an authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). However, the AHJ must be clearly identified, especially when multiple entities have authority. In response to this comment, OSHA explained that NFPA standards clearly state that multiple AHJs can exist for a given standard. This is because multiple entities (e.g., the state fire marshal, the local fire marshal) can have authority at a given location for a specific issue.
  • Some participants expressed concern that OSHA's standard might apply to all materials with positive Kst values, even though some of these materials are reportedly relatively inert (i.e., materials with extremely low Kst values). Designing certain equipment to comply with NFPA 654 would be difficult, and costs of modifying equipment to adhere to the standard could significantly increase the price of new equipment, possibly by more than 300 percent depending on the type of equipment.
  • OSHA was asked how it will set threshold limits on the standard for either Kst factors or dust collector size.
  • Many small companies do not have professional engineers (PEs) or safety personnel who may be needed to research NFPA standards and determine which standards apply. OSHA should establish guidelines that would allow small companies and facilities in all industries (e.g., by Kst value, by industry) to quickly assess applicability without investing time and resources in engineering studies and other evaluations.
  • One question had to do with transitions and how Article 506 of the National Electrical Code (NEC) (NFPA 70) standard will fit into the proposal of the OSHA standard.
  • Commercial printing companies are concerned with costs associated with complying with NFPA 654. Most of these companies are relatively small organizations with 20 or fewer employees. The costs associated with testing all dusts for each different type of paper is prohibitive for these individual facilities. Based on the testing that has been done, where dust exists at all, it is found to be less than 3 percent of the minimum explosible concentration (MEC). Thus, OSHA should exempt paper dust from the standard or write the rule in such a way so that these facilities need not conduct extensive and costly testing to assess whether OSHA's standard applies.
  • OSHA needs to develop a combustible dust standard with clear definitions, and provide guidance for how this new standard overlaps with Process Safety Management (PSM) requirements. People responsible for dealing with these regulatory issues (e.g., safety engineers, compliance managers) need to understand what is required so their companies can comply with the combustible dust standard.
  • At least five different NFPA standards cover combustible dust (e.g., NFPA 61, NFPA 484, NFPA 654, NFPA 655, NFPA 664). All of them have prescriptive requirements; most include a performance-oriented approach. In the last three or four years, OSHA has issued citations referencing one or more of these NFPA standards that some companies feel are not applicable to them. Inconsistencies or omissions have been seen between common hazards associated with different types of combustible dust. Thus, OSHA would have great difficulty in writing one standard that can cover the wide variety of combustible dust hazards. OSHA could write some prescriptive requirements around the generic dust issues given certain commonalities. However, OSHA also needs the standard to include some performance requirements, guidance materials, and training on how risk assessments should be conducted.
  • Offering multiple compliance options has merit: it takes into account uniqueness of facilities and industries, embraces better practices, and acknowledges the harmony that is needed between building and fire codes. Standards exist for electricity-generating facilities that complement various other NFPA and best practice standards and have been very effective in industry. For instance, the electricity-generating industry has its own vertical standard for OSHA that addresses coal dust. NFPA also has an industry-recommended practice for electricity-generating facilities that is used often in the design and engineering phases as well as in the construction and operation of sites.
  • In grain-handling facilities, there are a number of important discrepancies between OSHA's regulation (1910.272) and NFPA 61. NFPA 61 has a number of provisions that are not in 1910.272 (e.g., employee training, vent entry, preventative maintenance). Conversely, NFPA 61 has 146 provisions not in OSHA's standard. Since the 1910.272 standard has been in place, worker fatalities in this industry have decreased 94 percent. OSHA has conducted investigations in the aftermath of explosions, and often cited employers for not complying with the existing grain dust standard (i.e., 1910.272). If these facilities are already not complying with an existing standard, it may be speculated that these facilities also would not comply with a new, more rigorous combustible dust standard.
  • Many OSHA inspections proceed in checklist fashion (e.g., "Is the air being recirculated?" "Is the bag house being vented outside?"). However, an approach that requires and leaves the detail to a more individual assessment would be easier for OSHA to enforce and better for reaching the agency's intent. For example, OSHA would not want an employer responding to a citation by saying that everything is fine because they changed the duct work to non-flammable materials, that being the only thing they were cited for; instead, OSHA should require a thorough assessment.
  • Incidents associated with combustible dust are horrible. A checklist may be appropriate to help a facility determine whether its combustible dusts present hazards that require controls, though there may be issues with "false positives" if such a checklist or testing algorithm is implemented. Positive results on a checklist might indicate the need for an economic analysis to determine whether the dust will warrant extremely expensive controls.
  • Some participants had questions about how to interpret Kst testing values and recommended that OSHA consider establishing non-zero thresholds for Kst below which dusts would not be regulated. Referring to page E-2 of the National Emphasis Program, a participant indicated that OSHA seems to suggest that any dust with a positive Kst value poses a "weak explosion" hazard. People want guidance and clarity on whether certain dusts with low Kst values (which may not present a substantial risk) really pose a hazard that warrants controls.
  • Industry needs guidance: NFPA's standards do not include guidance for implementation. Companies without engineers or safety professionals might interpret these standards incorrectly. OSHA should develop a combustible dust standard that everyone (e.g., OSHA, local authority) can understand and use.
  • NFPA periodically revises its standards. OSHA's standard will need to explain how compliance will be assessed when the NFPA standards change.
  • A main issue is defining which dusts are "combustible." NFPA 499 has an algorithm that helps evaluate some issues, but a practical answer is needed to determine if a given amount of dust presents a potential hazard. OSHA should consider specific tests being developed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) that might be useful for determining whether dusts are combustible or additional testing is needed. OSHA needs to provide guidance and clarity to enable companies to determine whether their dust presents a risk or not.
  • OSHA should very carefully consider exactly which dusts constitute a hazard that should be controlled. For instance, a Class II dust should not be held to the same standard as a Class III dust.
  • Highly qualified and trained safety officials may have different judgments regarding the hazard potential of combustible dusts. As an example, a stakeholder noted that a facility processed a material with a very low Kst value. To assess potential combustible dust hazards, the facility decided to have a professional engineer conduct a hazard analysis to determine if the material posed minimal risk that would exempt the dust from NFPA 654. The engineer concluded that the dust posed minimal risk, but state OSHA officials disagreed and cited the company, in contrast to the findings in the facility's documented hazard analysis. The company is currently in the appeal process, which is imposing an economic burden on the cited facility.
  • While NFPA has posted its standards online for public viewing, industry must pay NFPA to obtain printed versions of the standards. Forcing industry to pay to obtain a standard (e.g., NFPA 61) that they are regulated by is fundamentally and philosophically objectionable. OSHA should consider the costs of accessing these standards in its economic analyses.
  • OSHA should allow industries to use the NFPA standards as a compliance alternative. However, no participants advocated that OSHA reference NFPA standards as the only compliance option.

4.2 Scope

Edmund Baird, Attorney, Office of the Solicitor, Department of Labor, introduced the topic of the scope of OSHA's combustible dust standard. Combustible dust hazards vary considerably from one facility to the next. Inert materials and other materials that are not explosible or combustible under any circumstances will not be covered by OSHA's combustible dust standard. Nonetheless, OSHA must examine numerous technical issues to establish applicability to the standard. Mr. Baird posed the following questions: Are there facilities that handle combustible dust that should not be covered, or are there certain combustible dust materials that should not be covered? If so, on what technical basis? A summary of the stakeholder comments regarding scope follows.

  • OSHA should adopt quantitative cut-off values for certain chemical or physical properties when defining combustible dusts. Facilities could then conduct analytical tests on their materials to conclusively determine whether or not their materials fall under the combustible dust standard.
  • NFPA 664 states that it does not cover sawdust with a moisture content above 25 percent. OSHA should consider including a maximum moisture content in its combustible dust standard to provide a more objective assessment of materials that pose a safety risk. OSHA may need to add disclaimers regarding how to address green sawdusts (i.e., sawdust obtained directly from lumber or logs before these materials have been otherwise dried). One suggestion was that green sawdust would be covered under OSHA's standard when facilities allow the material to dry to lower moisture contents.
  • Dusts generated in printing presses tend to have a Kst of around 1. OSHA should outline a way for companies to exclude dust with such low Kst values, particularly when the raw material contains or is covered with an inert substance (e.g., clay).
  • Testing for Kst is an expensive procedure. Material safety data sheets (MSDSs) do not usually contain this information and do not address hybrid mixtures. OSHA should consider providing a reference table for Kst values that facilities can use under certain circumstances.
  • OSHA should consider exempting facilities that process edible beans and legumes, because these materials appear to have a low risk for causing explosions and their dusts have never been reported to cause explosions. (OSHA requested that facilities submit any data or technical information that supports their industry being excluded.)
  • Foundry dust contains some components that are explosive and others that are not. A case-by-case assessment is necessary to evaluate the explosibility of foundry dust (as a function of composition) and to assess the associated safety risks.
  • Jurisdictional overlap helps to mitigate dust standards. For instance, certain industries (e.g., poultry processors) are covered by U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration regulations that help minimize dust accumulation.
  • OSHA should ensure that grain-dust-handling facilities are not subject to redundant requirements under a new combustible dust standard and the existing agricultural grain dust standard. Dr. David Michaels (Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health) previously testified in a confirmation hearing that he would make the best effort to ensure that grain-handling facilities are not burdened with unnecessary or redundant regulations.
  • Some electricity-generating facilities prefer the continued use of 1910.269, which already addresses electric power generation and issues around coal. OSHA should consider use of loss on ignition (LOI) data as a potential surrogate measure for whether certain coals could present a combustible dust safety hazard. Use of such surrogates, if found to be valid, will help the industry avoid extensive and expensive testing of bottom ash and fly ash.
  • Facilities should manage dust at the point of creation, but the ability to do so is hampered by requirements of other agencies. For example, EPA's requirements for dust collection mandated that dust be moved away from its initial source, thus lessening the ability to contain the dust and effectively manage it.

4.3 Economic Impact

Mark Anderson, Economist, Office of Regulatory Analysis, introduced the topic of economic impact. OSHA will estimate the proposed rule's economic impact on all affected industries. The agency is particularly interested in the effect on small businesses; it will hold a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) panel as an additional process to gather input from small entity representatives.

Table 1 in the ANPR identifies industries that may have combustible dust hazards, based on past reports of possible combustible dust incidents. OSHA is interested in other ways to identify industries or firms that may have combustible dust hazards. Mr. Anderson posed the following questions: What kinds of costs and benefits do you foresee from a proposed rule? What regulatory approaches do you think would be most effective in minimizing costs while assuring the safety of employees? Stakeholders provided the following comments on the economic impact of the proposed rule.

  • The cost for bringing an older (e.g., 30–60 years) facility into compliance with NFPA standards can be between 2 and 30 million dollars.
  • Cost information needs to be available to facilities such that they do not pay more than necessary to comply with OSHA's standard. For instance, a back draft damper compliant with European combustible dust standards may cost $20,000 to $25,000, but equipment offering equivalent controls may be commercially available in the United States for $2,000.
  • The possibility of a PSM-type standard is of concern because some detailed requirements can be very expensive and resource intensive to comply with. For example, it is not cost-effective to conduct a process hazard analysis (PHA) on every production process involving combustible dusts, or a management of change (MOC) analysis for every process modification. PSM-type elements are not needed because it is hard to have a combustible dust explosion (need five elements) compared to a chemical explosion (need three elements).
  • Use of a PSM-type standard would be a costly burden on the agricultural dust industry, where the processes and hazards are well known. Further, PSM-type standards are not practical for food manufacturing facilities, for which hazard abatement is less complicated than in the chemical industry.
  • OSHA should not assume that only older facilities have issues; some newer facilities have processes that are not fully compliant with NFPA standards.
  • A PSM-type standard for combustible dusts may be excessive, but a hazard assessment on certain equipment (e.g., dust collector) could be effective. A simplified management of change program for this equipment may be desired.
  • OSHA needs to consider what is simple compared to what has been used previously. The agency should consider the specific hazards before deciding to require MOC analyses for all processes involving combustible dust.
  • Some participants discussed whether OSHA should establish a maximum allowable dust accumulation thickness and what that thickness should be. Such a thickness should be chosen based on properties of dust and hazard potential, but the choice must also take technical feasibility into account. OSHA should provide a table or chart that presents the allowable accumulation thickness (or thicknesses), along with documentation of the basis for setting them. Depending on the allowable thickness set, if one is, older facilities can face millions of dollars of compliance costs. Different materials can pose very different risks, and OSHA's standard needs to explicitly indicate the thickness or thicknesses (e.g., 1/8 inch, 1/32 inch) that apply to various materials.
  • Some PSM requirements are not necessary for combustible dust hazards. For example, involving managers, engineers, and other personnel in every MOC analysis is an enormous investment of time and engineering skill, taking away from the time that these individuals spend actually managing processes.
  • In 1985, when OSHA was developing its agricultural grain dust standard, research by the National Grain Feed Association concluded that setting a 1/8-inch thickness for maximum dust accumulations beyond a 35-foot radius of priority areas would cost industry 200 million dollars. The 1/8-inch action level is effective and should apply to high-priority areas, but there is no cost-return benefit seen in expanding this requirement beyond high-priority areas or setting a lower allowable dust accumulation thickness.
  • A participant noted that he has never seen a single facility fully compliant with all NFPA standards. The closest was an OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) facility; however, even that particular facility would require over $100,000 to become fully compliant with NFPA's combustible dust standards.
  • Use of PSM-type language in an OSHA combustible dust standard is of concern because it would require "teams" of individuals to review certain issues. OSHA should avoid such requirements given the level of effort required.
  • The biggest cost concern for foundries is if standards apply to facilities and processes that have limited or no risk. In other words, if 99 percent of operations that do not pose a hazard cannot be separated in OSHA's standard from the 1 percent of operations that potentially pose hazards, then a lot of facilities may be put out of business due to compliance costs. As just one example of anticipated economic burden, the costs could be considerable if individual hazard assessments were required, because a professionally conducted initial risk assessment could cost between $10,000 and $20,000.
  • When considering MOC requirements in its rulemaking effort, OSHA should be mindful that seemingly innocuous changes to a process (e.g., changing a bin's level indicator) can dramatically increase the risk of hazards.
  • Costs to comply with NFPA 654 will be very high. For instance, small dust collectors that may currently cost facilities between $10,000 and $13,000 to install could end up costing an estimated $60,000 should they be required to be fully compliant with NFPA 654.
  • The intent of NFPA 61 (paragraph 1.4.1) is to focus on retrofits, new construction, and other issues. The financial impact of this standard on industry is almost incalculable.
  • The group is not saying that processes should not be examined and changes should be completely free of regulatory requirements. Rather, dust-handling equipment should be designed, maintained, and modified by those trained to do so. In the agricultural dust sector, this is a cost-effective requirement that should take care of both PHAs and MOCs. That is, they should not have to examine every single change and the regulatory language cannot require that every change go through an MOC because it is too expensive. The standard should instead require that dust-handling equipment be changed and modified by qualified persons.
  • A simple model of a PHA or MOC placed in an appendix would be helpful.

4.4 Hazard Mitigation

Mat Chibbaro, Fire Protection Engineer, Office of Safety Systems, introduced the topic of hazard mitigation. Currently, the NFPA standards leave many of the decisions on which controls to apply in a given situation to the users of the standard, in particular for engineering controls. To help it determine which approach to take and what the requirements should be, OSHA is interested in hearing about stakeholders' actual experiences performing hazard analyses (i.e., from those who have personally done it or whose companies have done it). Mr. Chibbaro asked the following questions: How do you determine where engineering or administrative controls are applied? Do you use a hazard analysis or other methods to make this determination? A summary of stakeholder responses is presented below.

  • One entity used Design Failure Modes Effects Analysis (DFMEA) on equipment to evaluate hazards. A risk priority number was calculated to address the hazard potential, the cost associated with incidents, and other factors. The highest risk priority numbers were then addressed.
  • In the past, some foundries relied on an insurance carrier to decide whether test samples indicated the presence of hazardous materials. Currently, this industry is looking more closely at using consultants to evaluate potential hazards posed by different foundries, materials, and processes.
  • Facilities subject to PSM are doing assessments and identifying controls, typically relying upon engineering controls first and applying administrative controls as an alternative when no appropriate engineering controls are available.
  • One electrical engineering company used International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Standard 679 for inspections of dust. They found this standard to be clearly written, and it provided a good system for reducing risk.
  • During engineering design, some electricity generating facilities identified potential hazards and then used a risk-based hierarchy to sort through the appropriate controls to use. It is often necessary to sort out potential conflicts between legal requirements that do not always complement each other, such as state and local building and fire codes, NFPA standards, insurance requirements, industry best practices, EPA and OSHA requirements, and other legal requirements.
  • The "882 military standard" was reportedly easy to follow for hazard analysis and assessment, but it was not necessarily as thorough as other standards.
  • One company used multiple techniques to assess hazards. An in-house tool developed in Microsoft Excel was used to assess the frequency, severity, and likelihood of different outcomes. Also, Liberty Mutual's Residual Risk Reduction application was used to score risk.
  • OSHA differentiated between primary engineering controls and secondary engineering controls in the ANPR. Primary controls are those that prevent an incident from actually occurring, and secondary controls are those that can minimize damage once an incident is initiated. The ANPR suggested that secondary engineering controls might best fall below administrative controls in the normal hierarchy of controls.
  • For electrical classification, facilities try to reduce ignition sources in a process whenever possible (i.e., primary engineering control), such as by removing foreign objects, bonding, and grounding. The necessary level of controls is usually based on the minimum ignition energy of the dust in question. Better housekeeping is an administrative control recommended specifically when looking at electrical classification (many areas have hazardous accumulation of dust) to eliminate having to reclassify certain areas.
  • Some industries use dust collectors and related equipment that comes outfitted with primary controls, so secondary controls do not exist or may not be necessary. It is possible that primary controls provide 80 percent of the benefit for 20 percent of the cost, while secondary controls may provide 20 percent of the benefit for 80 percent of the cost.
  • OSHA needs to look at the comments filed by some equipment manufacturers about secondary controls. The comments indicated that secondary controls are a good means of protection, but OSHA was asked how it would write regulatory language that mandates the use of primary controls before secondary controls. For instance, would the standard state it is literally unlawful for an employer to use secondary controls without first establishing that all primary controls are not feasible? (OSHA explained that it separated the controls as different questions in the ANPR to gather input on what would be included in the standard, and is exploring all options on this topic [e.g., requiring use of primary but not secondary controls]).
  • OSHA cannot write a rule that develops an artificial barrier between primary and secondary controls. These controls complement each other; a blend of the two is needed.
  • EPA has written a rule (40 CFR Part 60, Subpart Y) for the coal industry that indicates that dry dust collectors are a fire hazard when collecting sub-bituminous coal dusts and recommends against using this piece of equipment entirely for this application. No other agency (including OSHA) makes the same recommendation, however.
  • OSHA might consider initially focusing on prevention of secondary explosions, because this issue is more common across industries and because these explosions seem to cause more loss of life. This approach might be more feasible and allow a standard to be released sooner than the latest NFPA 654 revision.
  • Housekeeping would be a huge issue for foundries. For this industry, primary controls make more sense than secondary controls.
  • A company in the poultry industry suggested keeping all applicable existing standards, because these reportedly already meet their needs. However, the names of these existing standards were not identified during the meeting.
  • Approved electrical equipment would probably be considered an engineering control, but it would not be needed if dust could be removed from an area via housekeeping (i.e., an administrative control). In such cases, the administrative control may eliminate the need for an engineering control. Thus, drafting a prescriptive standard that creates a mandatory hierarchy of controls will be too constraining and may not allow for the best controls to be implemented for all scenarios.
  • The current formula in NFPA 654 for maximum allowed dust accumulation is commonly misunderstood and not feasible. Some industry representatives indicated that this calculation approach is not necessary. (OSHA clarified that the proposed 2011 edition of NFPA 654 suggests replacing the threshold thickness with a formula that includes factors for density and other parameters. OSHA requested feedback on this proposed change.)
  • Temperature rating is important. The temperature rating specifies the highest temperature at which a device can operate safely. A layer of dust on a piece of equipment can increase the temperature rating, which also increases the potential for an explosion.
  • A conclusion in the Chemical Safety Board's 2006 report (which looked at incidents over a 25-year period) was that secondary explosions were a major contributor to 95 percent of major dust explosions. Good housekeeping practices with a goal of zero accumulations will usually reduce the chance of a secondary explosion, even if no engineering controls are in place. However, a goal of having no accumulated dust is not possible, particularly for some industries, though those industries can aim for operating as cleanly as possible.
  • Some changes in NFPA 654 that are of interest to the stakeholders include:
    • The "420 micron size" was removed from the definition of "combustible dust."
    • The standard defines and distinguishes "flash fires" and "explosions."
    • A new approach to evaluating maximum allowable dust accumulation has been proposed, which has implications for housekeeping.
  • OSHA needs to consider proposals, comments, and advancements that have been communicated during the process to revise NFPA 654.
  • OSHA should not make engineering controls mandatory in order to prevent damage to equipment, because damage to equipment should be outside OSHA's purview when it poses no threat to employees. OSHA needs to make a division between when combustible dust threatens employee safety and when it threatens pieces of equipment.
  • Many standards are available and used for combustible dust (e.g., IEC, ASME, NFPA). Individuals who are experienced with technical aspects of these standards and who know how to interpret and use them determine what is necessary to protect equipment and workers. These determinations are often made by certified industrial hygienists, engineers, manufacturers, and other professionals. It was frightening that OSHA inspectors can second-guess these individuals and issue citations, especially in cases where other entities have approved the controls (which gets back to the issue of AHJ).
  • An issue exists with how OSHA evaluates facilities before and after an explosion. When there is no explosion or fire, OSHA wants to know if a qualified person conducted a PHA. However, if an incident has occurred, then OSHA works to prove that the PHA was done incorrectly.
  • When writing its combustible dust standard, OSHA needs to consider giving the end user flexibility in how to prevent hazards (e.g., administrative versus engineering controls). The time needed to comply with OSHA's combustible dust standard will vary by the type of controls implemented. For instance, administrative controls likely will not take as long to implement as engineering controls. When inspecting industry, OSHA should be mindful of the time needed and expense involved for facilities to come into compliance.
  • NFPA Technical Committees do not conduct economic impact studies when considering changes to NFPA standards, but they should. OSHA should conduct a cost analysis study to evaluate the economic impacts of its proposed standard.
  • The grain-handling standard was promulgated in 1988. Since then, the actual number of bushels of grain processed through facilities has increased by over 50 percent, yet the number of incidents has decreased significantly. Thus, the grain-handling standard has been truly effective, though it is unclear how effective a new combustible dust standard would be.

5 Closing Remarks

Ms. Dougherty thanked the stakeholders for their participation. She explained that this meeting represented an opportunity for OSHA to hear the stakeholders' concerns on workplace hazards and to obtain information on how to eliminate these hazards and minimize the danger to workers from combustible dust. Ms. Dougherty emphasized that this meeting was an important step in an open and transparent regulatory process that seeks input from all stakeholders. OSHA has not started writing the standard yet, and the feedback from stakeholders is valuable input for drafting a comprehensive standard that protects workers exposed to combustible dust. Ms. Dougherty noted that the public will have many opportunities to interact with OSHA, and hopefully those interested will continue to provide comments and stay involved in the rulemaking process. Ms. Dougherty closed the morning session by emphasizing the importance of OSHA gathering information through site visits, and encouraged the stakeholders to volunteer.

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Combustible Dust
Stakeholder Meeting
Atlanta, GA
February 17, 2010
Meeting Summary Report
Afternoon Session

6 Opening Remarks

Dorothy Dougherty, Director, Directorate of Standards and Guidance, welcomed the stakeholders to the afternoon session of the Combustible Dust Stakeholder Meeting. Ms. Dougherty made the same opening remarks as at the morning session (see Section 2 of this report).

7 Administration of the Meeting

Virginia Fitzner, the meeting facilitator, provided the stakeholders with the same overview as at the morning session (see Section 3 of this report).

8 Suggested Points for Group Discussion

OSHA representatives sought specific information regarding the use of NFPA standards, the scope of the combustible dust standard, the economic impact of implementing such a standard, and hazard mitigation practices. The following is a summary of the key stakeholder comments made during the meeting. Comments are grouped together by topic, without reference to the identity of the commenter.

8.1 NFPA Standards

Mat Chibbaro, Fire Protection Engineer, Office of Safety Systems, provided the stakeholders with the same introduction to NFPA standards as in the morning session (see Section 4.1 of this report), and asked the following questions: Do you use NFPA standards to mitigate the hazards of combustible dust? If so, what benefits or challenges have you encountered? What benefits or challenges do you foresee if OSHA uses NFPA standards as sanctioned compliance alternatives? Stakeholder responses are summarized below.

  • NFPA standards have a lot of value. It will be challenging to pull these standards into a new combustible dust standard, but the effort will be well worthwhile. The adopted standard needs to be kept current and updated as necessary. Issuance of a vertical standard is favored (e.g., 1910.269 generally covers the electricity generating industry). A horizontal standard would cover basic issues that apply to all industries, and then additional vertical standards could address industry-specific issues.
  • NFPA 654 has a formula to measure allowable accumulations of settled dust. For the electricity generating industry, however, the 1/8 inch specified can often be too much material from a safety perspective. Calculating the bulk density (how thick a dust needs to be) in NFPA 654 is a necessity, but the formula should to be expanded to take Kst values and other dust characteristics into account.
  • NFPA standards provide good information on combustible dust safety issues. The problem behind many standards in the U.S. system is that they set some rigid benchmarks to which no exceptions can apply. As a result, some industries can no longer use certain equipment because the NFPA standards do not allow it. For example, the new NFPA 654 standard may not allow flame front diverters or abort gates, though the real issue is that this equipment has not been fully tested. OSHA needs to clearly define testing requirements and methods, and should become familiar with the Atmosphères Explosibles (ATEX) system of standards used by several European countries. ATEX and NFPA standards have much in common, but ATEX standards are more uniform. The ATEX system deals with products and equipment across international borders; OSHA should consider taking this European system into account.
  • OSHA should use caution when considering the ATEX system. It is admirable to make requirements uniform with European countries, but the approval process for certain equipment under the ATEX system is not as stringent as in the United States.
  • Owners and operators of manufacturing plants need a guidance document to develop dust control policies and practices. These entities currently rely on NFPA standards as a "road map" to implement protective measures. However, with different NFPA standards for different industries and multiple versions of these standards, there is a need for a single cohesive document that synthesizes all requirements.
  • The formula used to calculate maximum allowable dust accumulation thickness is too confusing, and misleads end users and stakeholders. A more practical approach, especially when teaching concepts to people who are not engineers, is "footprints to disaster": if you can see your footprints on the floor due to accumulated dust, then there is too much dust there. Such an approach may be more effective in teaching non-technical audiences how to improve their dust management programs and to prevent a fire or explosion. Formulas are good for the engineers, but too complex for other end users (e.g., fire fighters, local recycling facilities).
  • Fire fighters have been injured due to lack of knowledge about combustible dust.
  • Some industries do not need a calculation or formula to determine if their materials are hazardous.
  • OSHA should provide a reference table with properties of multiple materials so companies can assess the hazard potential of their dust and determine whether further testing is needed. The table needs to tell the end user where to go next, indicate if a calculation needs to be made, or state if they have satisfied all requirements.
  • ATEX has definite and very clear testing procedures for certain equipment; it can provide industry with cost-effective approaches to evaluating combustible dust issues.
  • NFPA standards contain valuable information, but these standards are developed in a manner that lacks union and worker representative participation. OSHA needs to consider that standards should be written in plain language for unions, employees, and their representatives to be able to follow. Also, the standard-setting process should have representative worker participation. Elements of worker training are clearly addressed in OSHA standards, but they are lacking in NFPA standards.
  • Employees, workers, and their representatives need to be included in workplace assessments, but this type of language is lacking in NFPA standards. OSHA needs to address workplace inspections, specifically what is working, what is not working, what is a temporary solution that has become permanent, and so on.
  • Facilities should not be required to purchase NFPA standards: such a requirement creates a barrier for people to get the information to managers and workers and is a cost and accessibility issue. Even though NFPA standards can be viewed online free of charge, they cannot be downloaded in hard copy. Therefore, employers have to figure out how to disseminate the information to workers. Another shortcoming of the online viewing of NFPA standards is that process operators, maintenance staff, and other individuals may not be experienced users of the Internet.
  • NFPA standards are difficult to use for people who view them online (i.e., unless you purchase them). (OSHA indicated that the NFPA standards are available online at The standards cannot be downloaded or printed, but they can be viewed free of charge.)
  • The illness and injury recordkeeping requirements (under 29 CFR 1904.36) need to include a component to protect employees from discrimination or harassment for reporting hazards or participating in any type of hazard assessments, inspections, or accident investigations. House Resolution 2067/Senate Bill 1580 speaks to the issue of prohibiting retaliation against workers who report process hazards, but something needs to be done to prevent retribution against employees if this law is not voted on and passed. The new combustible dust standard should address this issue.
  • While NFPA standards have many thorough requirements, they do not involve workers and their representatives. Workers can provide valuable information about the workplace and are often the most knowledgeable people about a company's day-to-day processes. (OSHA clarified that an omission of something such as employee participation does not by itself preclude its use as a compliance option. OSHA could require employee participation for certain elements of a combustible dust standard, but also use an NFPA compliance option for other elements.)
  • Many NFPA standards refer to "authority having jurisdiction" (AHJ). However, many users of these standards have difficulty figuring out who is the AHJ, especially in cases where multiple entities can be considered the AHJ. This matter should be resolved in OSHA's standard.
  • OSHA indicated that there could be multiple AHJs for every NFPA standard. Hopefully there is consistency, but this seems to be a real issue.
  • An accident involving grounding, bonding, and static electricity occurred at a tire and rubber manufacturing facility due to combustible dust. The fire marshal did not have a lot of training in combustible dust, so the accident was left up to the State to investigate. OSHA needs to look at training and outreach to help employers, AHJs, and unions to better understand combustible dust hazards.
  • Fixed fire suppression systems can lead to explosions. Currently NFPA standards state that facilities can have a dry pipe fusible link system, which requires a heat source to activate the system. When these systems are activated, the first thing out of the nozzle is pressurized air, which can disperse combustible dusts depending on where the systems are installed. Many facilities have a false sense of security, incorrectly imagining that dry fire suppression systems will keep them safe from combustible dust hazards. Standards also currently allow for the use of thermal and fusible link detection systems. OSHA regulations should be restricted to an open head deluge system with a different type of detection system (e.g., linear heat detection). Closed head wet pipe systems do not raise the risk of dispersing dry combustible dusts, but the water in these systems can freeze.
  • Most industrial workplaces do not have fire brigade systems anymore.
  • Some processes are supposed to have dampers that close upon detection of fires, but these may not work without proper maintenance.
  • An issue of concern when extinguishing fires is that water from hoses can disperse more dust or release oxygen out of the hose that causes more problems.
  • Dust collectors should have detectors (e.g., spark and ember, temperature) so a hazard can be identified and eliminated before it propagates to other equipment. Facilities should have proactive means of detection or use newer technology such as a wet dust extraction system, which eliminates the hazard of a dry dust collector fire.
  • While developing the combustible dust standard, OSHA should continue to review the science and technology and refine its standards. An expert review is critical, and the standard needs to be periodically revisited for protectiveness.
  • Lack of coordination between different agencies is a concern. For example, EPA requirements (40 CFR Part 60 Subpart Y) for electricity-generating facilities indicate that using dry dust collectors in a sub-bituminous coal application is a fire hazard; other agencies do not make the same determination, which causes confusion.

8.2 Scope

Edmund Baird, Attorney, Office of the Solicitor, Department of Labor, provided the same introduction to the topic of scope as in the morning session (see Section 4.2 of this report). He asked the following questions: Are there facilities that handle combustible dust that should not be covered, or are there certain combustible dust materials that should not be covered? If so, on what technical basis? A summary of stakeholder responses is presented below.

  • Testing strategies are an important consideration. These strategies should consider that materials' physical properties (e.g., moisture content, particle size distribution) can change throughout a process and these changes can have important implications for hazard potential. Materials may also change in their oxidation potential, but still be combustible. For instance, coal burned in power plants has fly ash that is still combustible in some cases. Resources need to be dedicated to determine which types of dust are present at a facility and whether they are combustible. OSHA should consider adopting a method for analytical tests so industry knows how to evaluate their potential hazards. MSDSs sometimes provide information for known substances; however, it is the unknown that may be of concern (e.g., dust in non-coal-handling areas).
  • Facilities need information to determine whether dust is combustible. Testing data are used to determine how combustible a dust is, to make engineering decisions, and when actions are being considered. The combustibility of a dust must therefore be known before a given material is used. A new procedure from ASTM (E12.26), reportedly available in a few months, will have a screening protocol to answer the "yes/no question" for combustibility without the requirement of analytical testing.
  • OSHA needs to be careful not to base its entire evaluation on large facilities (e.g., the coal industry) that have the potential to experience massive explosions. Hundreds of thousands of smaller operations exist, and it might be too expensive for these companies to perform extensive analytical testing. Concern was expressed with the way standards and regulations are written. For instance, NFPA 68 states that the Kst value must be known for all dust, which means dust in any facility would have to get tested. OSHA should create a table of ranges of Kst values and divide them into categories: Dust Class I, II, and III. Many dusts are in Class I, and this would alleviate a lot of testing. Proper analyses cost at least $2,000. Avoiding testing all dust when parameters are known would be easier for general industry and more helpful for OSHA inspectors.
  • The "bottom line" is that if a material is a combustible dust, then OSHA's standard should cover it. If existing rules covering a particular industry are just as protective (e.g., grain handling for 1910.272 standard) and effective as the new combustible dust standard would be, then industry can fall under the existing vertical standard.
  • The regulated community needs a clear, plain English definition of "combustible dust." Standards are complex and numerous: OSHA needs to make it easier for workers, unions, and employers to know what needs to be done and what should be covered.
  • NFPA 654 is a performance-based standard that provides the best operational and functional definition of combustible dust.
  • NFPA 1 (the Uniform Fire Code Handbook) provides a user-friendly definition. However, the definition of combustible dust varies across multiple NFPA standards. A clear definition is needed in OSHA's standard.
  • All operators, regardless of industry, need to know whether their dust is a hazard or has the potential to become combustible. OSHA should create a table that can be taken to a site for use in process-specific situations to determine whether dust is or could become combustible.
  • It is difficult to come up with a table documenting the hazard potential of individual materials, because the same material can be used in different ways at different facilities. This complicates efforts to have a prescriptive list of which materials should be considered to be combustible dusts.
  • The table being described by stakeholders would be classified as a "worst-case" table that lists various materials, and would be appropriate for process-specific situations.
  • Innovative ways to handle the spectrum and variability of materials exists. One entity was going out to coal mines and encouraging them to write MSDSs to indicate how their materials react based on individual variables. For instance, an MSDS can describe how the material would behave as a function of moisture content, particle size, Kst value, and other parameters.

8.3 Economic Impact

Mark Anderson, Economist, Office of Regulatory Analysis, provided the same introduction to the topic of economic impact as in the morning session (see Section 4.3 of this report) and then asked the following questions: What kinds of costs and benefits do you foresee from a proposed rule? What regulatory approaches do you think would be most effective in minimizing costs while assuring the safety of employees? The information below summarizes the stakeholder responses.

  • At one facility, a dust collector handling approximately 1,000 cubic feet per minute cost about $10,000 and could not be vented to the outside. Fully complying with NFPA 654 requirements for flameless vents and other controls resulted in additional costs of $40,000 for this dust collector.
  • An estimated 2 to 30 million dollars (but usually below 12 million) per plant in the electricity-generating industry would be required to make necessary changes. This industry is willing to make changes, but requirements have to be clear and unambiguous. Standards are viewed as a way to prevent risk and loss of life.
  • For many industries, hazard awareness is a very important issue. Everyone who may be affected at a facility needs to be educated on hazard awareness - not just supervisors and operators, but incoming visitors, all employees, contractors, and so on. Hazards will be addressed when everyone is educated about them.
  • OSHA needs to address what is considered good housekeeping (e.g., what is "good," how often should it be done) and provide proper guidance. The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has great educational videos, but the information needs to be disseminated to the regulated community so they can see what could happen with combustible dust (e.g., aftermath and impact on facilities after an incident).
  • Accidents have a significant economic impact on communities, families, workers, and others. OSHA's actions to implement its National Emphasis Program in the last two years were appreciated.
  • The CSB has pointed out deficiencies in MSDSs, lack of employee training, and lack of clear understanding of what employers are supposed to do. Another confusing issue to some facilities is how multiple NFPA standards are inter-related and refer back to each other.
  • OSHA needs to address housekeeping, which does not cost a lot, and provide people with the proper guidance to implement successful housekeeping programs. Housekeeping is often neglected, and the existing standards do not cover it properly. For instance, the general requirements include specifications for housekeeping [29 CFR 1910.22(a)(1)], but these requirements do not address combustible dust.
  • OSHA has been through the process to determine feasibility. Much logic exists in the respiratory protection standard (29 CFR 1910.134), which discusses feasibility and the hierarchy of controls. OSHA should not reinvent the wheel, but follow the logic in that standard as a guide.
  • Fire departments, industry, and the general public have a good understanding of the composition of vapor cloud explosions, which have the same elements as a combustible dust explosion. The foundation for the education and awareness already exists. The point that this dust can be just as powerful as propane or other types of explosions needs to be communicated.
  • The message of improving housekeeping needs to be conveyed.

8.4 Hazard Mitigation

Mat Chibbaro, Fire Protection Engineer, Office of Safety Systems, provided the same introduction to the topic of hazard mitigation as in the morning session (see Section 4.4 of this report), then asked the following questions: How do you determine where engineering or administrative controls are applied? Do you use a hazard analysis or other methods to make this determination? A summary of stakeholder responses is presented here.

  • OSHA should implement performance-based standards when appropriate and prescriptive standards for other topics (e.g., the design of a dust collector, the design of explosion isolation equipment).
  • Some facilities voiced concern about the costs associated with hiring engineers to help comply with safety standards. However, the costs for hiring an engineer might not be as high as expected, and external engineering support might be needed to evaluate facilities to make sure they operate safely.
  • PHAs are fairly involved and not necessarily applicable to bulk materials. One entity used an evaluation procedure that was effective: for all incidents involving injuries or safety concerns, the facility identified what rulemaking applied to the situation, specified the AHJ for the particular standard, and wrote interpretations for keeping the facility safe. Even though this optional approach has been effective, the preference is for requiring this information via OSHA's standard or in the next issue of NFPA 654, which will have a format outlined for assessing situations (i.e., basically guidelines for conducting something similar to a hazard analysis). House Resolution 849 outlines possible requirements for performing self assessments of plants where combustible dust is present. Facilities should have external assessments conducted every year or so, and compare the findings of the internal assessments to those of the external assessments.
  • A concern is that many facilities do not maintain records in accordance with various OSHA standards. In the combustible dust standard, OSHA should clearly articulate all recordkeeping requirements. Companies that keep up with their records have been found to avoid injuries.
  • Many performance-based standards are vague and unclear on what to do, while prescriptive standards are specific. For instance, a prescriptive standard, which is clear and provides a known endpoint, might state "control noise to 90 decibels." One participant voiced a preference for prescriptive standards over performance-based standards.
  • The standard needs to include a clause stating that employees and their representatives will suffer no retaliation for participating in hazard mitigation, assessment, investigation, and inspections.

9 Additional Topics

Discussion of the agenda items was completed before the 3-hour allotted time expired. Ms. Fitzner, the meeting facilitator, asked if the stakeholders wished to discuss any additional topics or concerns. The following is a summary of the comments made by stakeholders on additional topics of interest. Comments are grouped together by topic, without reference to the identity of the commenter.

  • OSHA was urged not to establish any rigid "across-the-board" rule on flame-retardant clothing (i.e., personal protective equipment [PPE]) with regard to combustible dust. OSHA already has a good standard on this - 1910.132(d), which requires employers to conduct a PPE hazard survey - and that requirement can easily be applied to evaluating the need for flame-retardant clothing. A single formula for PPE cannot be developed for combustible dust because there are so many variables to take into account. Instead, this will need to be a question of professional judgment.
  • OSHA should highly recommend mandatory flame-resistant clothing for every facility that has escorts for the fire department.
  • It can be difficult to identify PPE requirements for processes that use combustible dust. PPE choices should be based on specific fire codes for specific applications.
  • A stakeholder invited OSHA to tour an electricity-generating facility that was so clean that the agency likely could not collect enough settled dust to test, as well as a facility with more visible settled dusts. OSHA might also be interested in viewing the source of Powder River Basin coal.
  • Containment of dust should be encouraged as a priority. Material had to be dispersed to the air at least once to end up on the floor, beams, and other places; thus, it was already a danger because it was not adequately contained. More expensive containment measures will pay for themselves over the long term in any industry because there will be less risk and less frequent and extensive housekeeping required.
  • OSHA needs to clarify what will and will not be grandfathered. Anything dangerous should not be grandfathered.
  • After an OSHA inspection, a facility ideally will be clean, the hierarchy of controls applied, and hazards eliminated or controlled. OSHA's revisiting facilities and issuing notices of repeat citation in cases of combustible dust was appreciated.
  • The new standard will hopefully provide clarity for employees, employers, and their representatives on how to move forward to prevent fatalities and serious injuries.
  • An expedited and comprehensive standard was desired.
  • Hazard Risk Assessment should be made qualitative rather than quantitative, similar to the PSM standard.
  • Teamwork is needed to spread news about incidents and promote incident awareness. OSHA should pool different resources to let facilities know about incidents that have occurred, outline the lessons learned from these incidents, and provide links to news articles. Facilities cannot learn from mistakes if they do not know about them. (OSHA noted it has a table of incidents [created for the ANPR] that will be posted in the docket. The table lists fires and explosions that occurred through 2008; OSHA could possibly keep updating this list.)
  • OSHA should consider coordinating and disseminating incident information quickly to the regulated community, because doing so would help raise awareness. Information should be presented on both "good" and "bad" situations.
  • Stakeholders could share incident information with OSHA, but they need a government agency to disseminate the information to avoid any type of repercussion. (OSHA noted it is always looking for good outreach methods during the rulemaking process. It can be challenging to communicate and share information in such a way that non-technical people can understand it; stakeholder input for outreach was appreciated.)
  • OSHA was encouraged to continue its work on the Status Report of the NEP for combustible dust because it contains valuable information. Facilities are being cited because they are not adequately staffed (as a result of downsizing and job combinations), which leads to a lack of housekeeping. OSHA should identify system failures that contributed to citations.
  • OSHA should begin educational sessions to inform employers about combustible dust safety issues; proactive employers will then likely take action.
  • Industry-specific education is desired. OSHA needs to work with trade associations familiar with combustible dust to disseminate information that is specific to each group.

10 Closing Remarks

Ms. Dougherty thanked the stakeholders for their participation. She encouraged the stakeholders to submit formal comments for consideration. She stated that she appreciated their thoughts, indicating that this was an important step as they move forward in the rulemaking process. OSHA wants to be as transparent as possible; the goal is to produce a good standard as expeditiously as possible. Ms. Dougherty expressed her hope that stakeholders would stay engaged and involved in the process.

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