Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is seeking input from the public on the approach to use in developing its federal standard for combustible dust. In its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on Combustible Dust, OSHA identified five National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) combustible dust standards that address the hazards of combustible dust processes. Of the five NFPA dust-specific standards mentioned by OSHA, NFPA 654 provides fundamental safety practices to be followed.
Over the past 15 years, a number of industries have experienced serious dust explosions causing loss of life and injuries and significant property damage. Three incidents in 2003 that took 14 lives and injured numerous others provided some national focus on the dangers of combustible dusts. CSB sharpened that focus in 2006 with its Combustible Dust Hazard Study, in which it reported that from 1980 to 2005, combustible dusts caused 281 incidents that killed 119 workers and injured 718. Even with the increased attention generated by the 2003 incidents and the CSB findings, an additional 16 deaths and 84 injuries occurred from 2006 to 2008.