A Chemical Safety Board official recently told Safety+Health that "it's long past time" for a standard on combustible dust. S+H presents a timeline, with links and videos, outlining recent significant combustible dust incidents and actions taken.
Recent comments from assistant OSHA administrator Jordan Barab indicate that he believes OSHA enforcement can lead to a safer workplace, despite a lack of supporting evidence. While many experts agree OSHA can have a positive effect on workplace safety, they disagree as to how large of a role the agency plays in doing so.
Combustible dust, diacetyl and – more recently – gas blows all are recognized industry hazards, yet federal OSHA does not have standards regulating them. However, the agency does have a way to protect workers from unregulated hazards, and employers could be seeing it more often: the General Duty Clause.
Deaths and injuries from grain entrapments are on the rise and, as a result, OSHA is warning grain facility owners and operators to take appropriate precautions – or face steep consequences.
In 2010, 51 grain entrapments were documented – the highest number ever reported, according to Purdue University’s Agricultural Safety and Health Program in West Lafayette, IN.
These “lagging” indicators represent the past, highlighting incidents that cannot be changed. To look at what is happening now to ensure such incidents do not happen in the future, “leading” indicators are needed.