Those who have been watching updates about the recent OSHA vs. the Chemical Safety Board are probably not thrilled as they await further regulation to prevent incidents and keep workers safe. The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has released a statement that OSHA’s response to OSHA recommendations as “open-unacceptable.” CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso, reiterates in a public meeting that the US CSB “has a statutory, congressionally-mandated task to address the sufficiency of OSHA and EPA regulations. The key obligation of the CSB and I intend to continue pursuing this mandate rigorously.”
The CSB called for OSHA to make significant changes to its combustible dust, fuel gas and process safety management standards. The CSB emphasizes particularly on combustible dust, which has long been a cause for accidental deaths in the construction and general industry. CSB claims that they are “particularly concerned with the lack of action on a much-needed combustible dust standard” and that OSHA should prioritize the adoption of the standard on top of its priority list for its most wants safety improvements program.
The CSB cited several instances of combustible dust-related accidents that occurred in past years, and when they have called upon OSHA to expedite the release of a combustible dust standard. For instance, in 2006, the CSB discovered, as a result of an extensive study, companies had failed to implement mitigation for major fires and explosions. In 2009, an explosion of combustible sugar dust claimed the lives of 14 workers in Georgia. In December 2011, three iron-related flash fires occurred in Tennessee. OSHA was called on by the CSB several times to issue a proposed rule as soon as possible.
The term “open-unacceptable” means the CSB believes that some regulatory changes are still needed in order to save lives and prevent combustible dust incidents in the workplace. The CSB aims to keep the recommendations’ status “open” since OSHA may still work on revising the standards in the future.
The CSB has based the status change on three original recommendations to OSHA. These recommendations are:
1. Revise the coverage of the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard for atmospheric storage tanks that could potentially release over 10,000 pounds of flammable material.
2. Revise the PSM standard to influence the start of Management of Change (MOC) reviews that affect process safety.
3. Recommendation that OSHA issues regulation for fuel gas safety in construction and general industries.
The development of new standards for the said recommendations can bring forth tremendous changes in saving workers lives, especially those often exposed to combustible dust and fuel gas. For further information on worker safety, check out our HAZCOM training and OSHA training courses for General Industry safety training which covers issues such as flammable materials and combustible specks of dust.