The answer to this question is simultaneously simple and complex. The simple answer is most of them. Any business that involves as part of its operations factories, plants, storage areas or silos that may contain combustible dust are affected by OSHA’s combustible dust initiative. From computer manufacturing to consumer food production, there is a good chance that you or a company you team with to remove your combustible dust has some stake in OSHA’s combustible dust actions.
If you work in agriculture, you were most certainly affected by OSHA’s combustible dust initiative. The grain handling facilities standard, which has discussed as recently as May according to the Expert Forum Summary Report released from the 2011 forum, has been particularly affected regarding changes to housekeeping and upkeep. According to the report, though, changes in these areas have been very effective. There has only been one major explosion at a grain handling facility since the standard was passed. This is all a result of a more rigorous cleaning schedule, well-informed employees and regular upkeep.
Another concept stressed was that of understanding combustible dust hazards, particularly the differences in these hazards from facility to facility. It was suggested that there should be specific guidelines for specific industries based on types of production equipment, types of dust and types of building envelopes. One of the experts at the forum stressed that OSHA should not use one set of guidelines to control all aspects of combustible-dust related industry.
It’s possible that if this concept is adopted even more changes will be on their way. However, these changes will most likely be specific to your industry in a way that helps alleviate some of the costs and hours you’ve put into making some changes that may not have been necessarily. Ultimately, this is a good step forward toward more accessible OSHA combustible dust guidelines.
We’d love to hear what you think about the OSHA combustible dust initiative or hear a story about how it’s impacted your business. Let us know by sounding off in the comments section below.