When you have developed a reputation for covering subjects like formaldehyde in wood products and wood dust, you can’t be too surprised to be asked to moderate a panel on government regulations.

I’ll let you judge if this is a blessing or a curse, but it was my reality recently at the AWFS Fair in Las Vegas, where I moderated a panel discussion on regulatory activities that might, can or will effect your business.

Based on what was related by the four presenters — Joy Flack of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; Gary Heroux of the Composite Panel Assn.; Dr. Marilyn Black of GREENGUARD and Brad Miller of the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Assn. Intl, there is more than enough federal, never mind state, regulations in the pipeline to present a major challenge to especially smaller wood products manufacturers to monitor, let alone comply.

The AWFS program covered the regulatory waterfront, from combustible dust and indoor air quality, through the CARB (California Air Resources Board) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) views on wood composite panel formaldehyde emission issues.

Truth be told, the session ran out before all attendee questions could be addressed. But those that were asked tended to revolve around the CARB and EPA formaldehyde issues.

For me, the most interesting moment was Heroux noting that CARB is on the cusp of actually enforcing its rule. This is to suggest that some company will wind up as the poster child of violating CARB, possibly a major retailer that has a product or three on its shelves that would fail to meet the new standard.

Another issue that perked my ears concerned combustible dust. A rule is in the making from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration that many fret could create extremely tough standards on even small wood products companies. From all I have seen or read of late, any ComDust standard is running behind schedule. Stay tuned.

Add to this potential news regs on breathing wood dust, hazardous communication, fall hazards, indoor air quality issues and more, and you have a glimpse at the 90 minutes we addressed at the AWFS Fair last month.
If you have a passion about a current or potential regulation, feel free to contact me to get it off your chest.

Onward and forward!

Wood Regulations: Who’s on First? 
 Combustible dust is another regulatory issue affecting
 the industry. Accumulation of combustible dust in a
plant can lead to fatal explosions.

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