CSB Chides OSHA on Combustible Dust Standard

The U. S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is apparently tired of OSHA dragging its feet on the combustible dust standard it promised to address as early as 2003 and has yet to act on.

In two separate statements, both of which can be found on the CSB website. Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso speaks out about OSHA’s failure to address the issue despite promises to do so.


Rafael Moure-Eraso is chairperson of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board.

The first statement dated on February 6th, addresses the lack of a standard that might have, had OSHA acted as it had said it would, have prevented the explosion at Imperial Sugar Refinery that that killed 14 workers and injured 38 others. This particular statement was issued on the four year anniversary of the explosion and chastises OSHA for failing to have followed through with a standard that they had promised was forthcoming as early as 2003.

The second statement dated February 19th, refers back to the 2003 dust explosions at the CTA Acoustics plant in Corbin that killed seven employees. Rafael Moure-Eraso claims that the findings related to that explosion resulted in a promise from OSHA to address the issue and draft a standard. It further builds on the accusation by relating other dust explosions that might have been prevented had a standard been in place. Each time, the CSB made recommendations to OSHA to draft a standard.

Apparently Rafael Moure-Eraso has had enough of OSHAs’ dragging its feet and is going public with his criticism of OSHA on this matter.

Part of his complaint has to do with the fact, not only that OSHA hasn’t yet drafted a standard but that apparently OSHA hasn’t even outlined a timeline, milestones or targets to get it done.

I, for one, am certainly interested in hearing what OSHAs response might be as to why it apparently hasn’t pulled out a manila folder and written “Dust Standard” on it. However overworked and understaffed they might be, this seems to be something that can’t sit on the back burner any longer. Without a standard to enforce, too many irresponsible companies out there will just continue to do business as usual and sit like a ticking timebomb.

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