The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Occupational Hazards, July 2008 | Go to article overview

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)


The U.S. occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)--www. OSHA.gov--has announced the reissuance of its Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP) Instruction; the NEP will increase enforcement activities and focus on specific industry groups that have experienced frequent combustible dust incidents.

The purpose of this NEP is to inspect facilities that create or handle combustible dusts that can cause intense burning or other fire hazards when suspended in air, and can lead to explosions. Combustible dusts are finely ground organic or metal particles, fibers, fines, chips, chunks, flakes or small mixtures of these materials.

"As a result of a recent catastrophic accident involving combustible dust at a sugar refinery plant (in Savannah, Ga.), OSHA is intensifying its enforcement activities at facilities where combustible dust hazards are known to exist," OSHA said. "Under this revised NEP, each AREA OSHA Office is expected to inspect at least four facilities each fiscal year."

In advance of the NEP, OSHA posted a new Combustible Dust Safety and Health Topics page to help employers address hazardous combustible dust and provide recommendations to prevent and control these hazards.

OSHA also has published new ergonomics guidelines to help employers and their employees in the shipyard industry prevent musculoskeletal injuries. The guidance, Ergonomics for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders: Guidelines for Shipyards, provides practical recommendations for employers to reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries at their facilities, and helps employers identify, evaluate and control hazards using best practices that have been successful in shipyards.

Other new OSHA products include:

* A Web page with interlinked information about State Plans' responses to new federal standards or directives issued since June 2006. …

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