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Expert forum to be held on combustible dust

OSHA has announced it will hold an expert forum later this month to identify regulatory options for protecting workers from combustible dust hazards, which have killed roughly 150 workers and injured more than 850 since 1980.

"Discussions will include identifying regulatory options that can minimize the costs to small- and medium-sized businesses of reducing or preventing combustible dust hazards, while protecting workers from these hazards," OSHA said. "Representatives from various industries, academia, research groups, insurance-underwriter organizations, labor, and government will comprise expert representation."

Combustible dusts include "fine particles, fibers, chips, chunks or flakes that, under certain conditions, can cause a fire or explosion when suspended in air," OSHA explained. "Types of dusts include metal (for example, aluminum and magnesium), wood, plastic, rubber, coal, flour, sugar and paper, among others."

The forum will be held May 13 at the Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., in Washington, D.C. There will be limited space available for non-participating observers. To register, contact Bill Hamilton at 202-693-2077 by May 6.

05/04/2011