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Congress and OSHA to look at combustible dust hazards

Those who are involved in industrial workplaces in the Los Angeles area may be interested to learn that the U.S. House of Representatives is beginning to reintroduce the Worker Protection Against Combustible Dust Explosions and Fires Act (H.R. 691). The bill is in response to the some 50 combustible dust explosions or fires that have occurred in the past six years since the Imperial Sugar factory explosion that killed 14 and injured dozens others occurred.

The explosions and fires that have occurred since the Imperial Sugar workplace accident nearly six years ago have claimed the lives of 15 individuals and injured 127. Under the new legislation of H.R. 691, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) would begin to implement protection standards based off of the National Fire Association Protection (NFPA) Standards. This would be the first time that those standards would be incorporated industry wide and many argue that that is not the right approach to these concerns.

However, the concerns of OSHA and Congress revolving around combustible dusts and the hazards that they present do require some sort of updated safety standards to help ensure industrial workplaces safeguard for these hazards. Combustible dusts can consist of wood coal, sugar, and metal. When certain quantities accumulate in factories, they present a fire hazard as they become combustible and produce explosive reactions.

If you work in a hazardous work environment or have been injured on the job and would like to explore what legal options and remedies may be available to you, please contact an attorney practiced in workers' compensation. Their skill and knowledge in that particular area of law will help guide you through the complexities involved with dealing with administrators of the funds and industry management.

Source: Woodworking Network, "Combustible Dust Bill Re-Introduced in House," Rich Christianson, Feb. 17, 2013

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