July 30, 2009
Contact: Office of Communications
New OSHA document discusses combustible dust hazards
WASHINGTON - Hazard Communication Guidance for Combustible Dusts (PDF version) is a new guidance document recently published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that assists chemical manufacturers and importers in recognizing the potential for dust explosions, identifying appropriate protective measures and the requirements for disseminating this information on material safety data sheets and labels.
Combustible dusts are solids finely ground into fine particles, fibers, chips, chunks or flakes that can cause a fire or explosion when suspended in air under certain conditions. Types of dusts include metal (aluminum and magnesium), wood, plastic or rubber, biosolids, coal, organic (such as flour, sugar and paper, among others), and dusts from certain textiles.
The document addresses the combustible dust hazards in relation to the Hazard Communication Standard, which is designed to ensure that chemical hazards are evaluated and the information concerning them is transmitted to employers and workers.
"Recent events have shown the devastation of combustible dust explosions resulting in worker loss of life and injuries," said acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Jordan Barab. "This guidance document is a useful resource to prevent potentially catastrophic events."
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.
U.S. Labor Department releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.
Contact the Office of Communications at (202) 693-1999 for assistance accessing OSHA PDF materials.