OSHA responds to combustible dust, hazcom questions

April 17, 2013

Washington – Providers of Safety Data Sheets and chemical labeling may include additional information on a contained substance if it presents a combustible dust hazard, OSHA said in an interpretation on the recently revised Hazard Communication Standard.

In a March 25 letter to the American Chemistry Council, OSHA administrator David Michaels responded to several questions on how the revised standard applies to combustible dust. Responses include:

  • Chemicals classified as combustible dust must include the hazard statement “May form combustible dust concentrations in the air” on SDSs and labels, but it is acceptable to include an alternative statement detailing how small particles created during processing or handling can form airborne combustible dust concentrations.
  • SDSs and labels may include Hazardous Materials Identification System or National Fire Protection Association ratings.
  • It is permissible and encouraged by OSHA to place signs or placards in workplaces advising workers of combustible dust hazards created during the processing of materials, but is not required.