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Region 4 News Release: 10-153-ATL (113)
Feb. 16, 2010
Contact: Michael D'Aquino     Michael Wald
Phone: 404-562-2076     404-562-2078

US Department of Labor's OSHA to hold stakeholder meetings in Atlanta on Feb. 17 to discuss combustible dust hazards
Agency encourages public comments

ATLANTA -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has scheduled informal stakeholder meetings to solicit comments and suggestions on combustible dust hazards in the workplace. OSHA will use comments from these meetings in developing a proposed standard for combustible dust.

Two meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 17, in Atlanta. They will take place at the Marriott Perimeter Center located at 246 Perimeter Center Parkway at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. EST. Each meeting will cover the same information.

Since 1980, more than 130 workers have been killed and more than 780 injured in combustible dust explosions. A Feb. 7, 2008, explosion at an Imperial Sugar Co. plant in Port Wentworth, Ga., killed 14 people and resulted in OSHA issuing nearly $8.8 million in penalties.

"Fourteen people were killed in a combustible dust explosion that was preventable. The deaths need to stop," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Michaels. "Information gathered from these meetings will help OSHA move ahead on this urgently needed standard and prevent more deaths from combustible dust explosions."

Combustible dusts are solids 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, coal, flour, sugar and paper, among others.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at http://www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audiotape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor Department 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 http://www.dol.gov/compliance.


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