safetyfirstBoth chemical exposure and combustible dust are ongoing threats to the lives of countless workers every year. OSHA has taken steps recently with both hazards to try and maintain awareness and minimize risks. With lots of prodding from the CSB and stakeholders in general, OSHA has been working diligently to minimize work accidents overall, train those who need it, and punish those who violate regulations that are put in place to ensure the safety of workers everywhere.

National Dialogue on Chemical Exposure
On October 9th, Dr. David Michaels (U.S Assistance Secretary of Labor) announced that OSHA is launching a ‘national dialogue’ with stakeholders. This dialogue will help them outline what stakeholders think feel should be done to minimize hazardous exposure to chemicals in the workplace.

The plan is to update their information on chemical exposure, which is sorely outdated. Hazardous chemicals cause thousands of workers to fall ill every year and the number isn’t abating. New chemicals are introduced often and many common, but suspected harmful chemicals have not even been included in the regulations because of the complete analysis required to add a chemical to the list.

OSHA is accepting comments for this dialogue for 180 days. They plan on using the discussion to discern what types of changes need to be made when handling chemicals, what methods can be used to store and interact with chemicals safely, and what stakeholders think need to happen to achieve a safer work place.

Tips for Avoiding Combustible Dust Accidents
Combustible Dust has been receiving its fair share of scrutiny from OSHA these days. With all the information available on keeping work environments safe, OSHA is not taking violations lightly.

There are still some hiccups to squeeze out. In our modern age, factory fires are still a huge concern, especially with the danger of combustible dust only partially checked. Though OSHA has a committee that is supposed to meet in December of this year to discuss new regulations for any place that is known to accumulate combustible dust, the meeting has already been postponed three times.

Controlling and maintaining the ventilation in a facility is a huge step in avoiding a combustible dust explosion. In many cases involving an accident, machines went unchecked and the air quality was ignored.

According to insurance company Zurich, you can control the risk of fire caused from combustible dust by:

  • Repairing any equipment emitting a dust cloud immediately
  • Bonding equipment to the ground to minimize static electricity
  • Eliminating risk areas
  • Keeping dust accumulation below 1/32 of an inch
  • Cleaning equipment with caution

The last one of our tips to avoid chemical exposure and combustible dust accidents involve companies taking steps to prevent dust particles from getting into the air. An effective ventilation system can remove the hazard of dust particles with ease, minimizing the risk of explosion. Flammable vapors should also be well-ventilated and kept away from any possible combustible dust clouds.

With hard work, dialogue, and information, workers can get the safe work environment they deserve.