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Region 5 News Release: 10-344-CHI
March 16, 2010
Contact: Brad Mitchell or Scott Allen
Phone: 312-353-6976

US Labor Department's OSHA schedules combustible dust stakeholder meetings in Chicago to address workplace hazards

CHICAGO -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has scheduled its latest informal stakeholder meetings to continue soliciting comments and suggestions for protecting workers from combustible dust hazards in the workplace. Since 1980, more than 130 workers have been killed and more than 780 injured in combustible dust explosions.

This set of meetings is the third in a series addressing combustible dust hazards. The first meetings were held in Washington, D.C. A second meeting was held in Atlanta to facilitate participation by families of victims of the Feb. 7, 2008, explosion at an Imperial Sugar Co. plant in Port Wentworth, Ga., which killed 14 workers and resulted in OSHA issuing nearly $8.8 million in penalties.

OSHA will consider participants' comments in developing a proposed standard for combustible dust.

The Chicago meetings will be held April 21 at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. CDT at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel and Conference Center, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, Ill. A Federal Register notice is available at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=21395

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.

Individuals interested in participating must register by submitting a notice of intent to participate by April 7. Notices can be submitted electronically by registering at https://www2.ergweb.com/projects/conferences/osha/register-osha-stakeholder.htm. Registrations also can be faxed to 781-674-2906. Or, registrations can be mailed to ERG Inc., 110 Hartwell Ave., Lexington, MA 02421. Registrations that are faxed or mailed should be labeled "Attention: OSHA Combustible Dust Stakeholder Meeting Registration."

For general and technical information, the public may contact Mat Chibbaro, OSHA, Office of Safety Systems, at 202-693-2255. Media inquiries should be directed to Brad Mitchell or Scott Allen, Office of Public Affairs, 312-353-6976.

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 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 www.dol.gov/compliance.


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