In part one, the OSHA defense lawyers at Cotney Construction Law introduced combustible dust and detailed the various types of Class II locations where combustible dust can be found, as well as a comprehensive list of important definitions related to combustible dust. Now, an OSHA lawyer will continue to discuss this important topic, which is referenced in over twenty directives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), ASTM International, and more.
Combustible Dust is a Significant Fire Hazard
OSHA recognizes the risk of dust deflagration, other fire, and explosion hazards in industries that handle metal dust (i.e., aluminum and magnesium), wood dust, coal and various carbon dusts, plastic dust and additives, biosolids, organic dust, and certain textile materials. Many of these dusts can be produced during construction. When combustible dust is produced in the presence of a source of ignition, it represents a significant fire hazard, especially in enclosed spaces. While most construction projects have considerable ventilation, it’s still important to understand the process of deflagration and its elements and factors.
Certified Safety and Health Official Checklist
When a certified safety and health official (CSHO) is enlisted to check for combustible dust-related hazards, they are required to follow certain procedures to prevent any potential accidents. Many of these actions can inform employers about the best practices for their own employees. For example, a CSHO must wear the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) when examining a workplace, including non-spark-producing clothing (i.e., cotton) and/or flame-resistant clothing. When collecting samples, the CSHO must be careful to avoid creating a dust cloud. This is something your employees should be cognizant of as well.
Additionally, the CSHO will gather information related to your efforts to mitigate combustible dust hazards. This can either have a positive or negative effect on your project site. It may result in violations, but it could also prove that you are doing everything in your power as an employer to ensure that your workers are provided with a safe work environment that is free of combustible dust hazards.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.