After years of delaying an analysis on combustible dust standards affecting general industry, any anticipation that safety measures would be improved came to a halt last week when the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under President Trump abandoned any discussion of changing current regulations, citing a strain on resources and other priorities. OSHA started the rulemaking process to develop a combustible dust standard for general industry back in 2009. The Trump Administration said the changes represent “the beginning of fundamental regulatory reform and a reorientation toward reducing unnecessary regulatory burden on the American people.” While this won’t change any current safety regulations, the way OSHA imposes penalties and conducts inspections, it in turn actually does put an increased responsibility onto manufacturers and workers to understand the severity of combustible dust.
Just look at this accident at a grain manufacturer in Indiana that happened days after OSHA’s announcement. In the video, we watch a scary situation unfold right before our eyes where the collapse of a grain silo creates a large fireball that spreads to the ground. Luckily, no workers were injured, but there was extensive damage to the facility, and a large loss of grain involved. The situation shines a light on a very disturbing reality that many facilities still lack a full understanding on handling combustible dust and recognizing a dangerous situation when they see one. To do so, they need to start with understanding the complexity of combustible dust and the combustible nature of the materials they are working with. This then continues on with proper training of all employees, and finally, seeing through that a documented housekeeping plan is followed to keep their work space clean and safe from combustible dust hazards.
Without OSHA there to press manufacturers to do so, Ruwac is here to help. We have over 30 years of experience in providing explosion proof industrial vacuum solutions designed to safely handle combustible dust and efficiently clean facilities in the process for everything from food and grain to metals and plastics in additive manufacturing, and powder coating. If you are uncertain as to whether the dust in your work space is combustible, we have an extensive knowledge on various applications, and will guide you to selecting the best industrial vacuum solution. Our vacuums are virtually indestructible, come with industry-leading filtration, and built in the U.S.A., ensuring that you will be able to depend on Ruwac for many years to come!