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Trade Release
July 30, 2009
Contact: Office of Communications
Phone: 202-693-1898

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.

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