The Wood Component Manufacturers Association works with industry groups for the betterment of the North American wood products industry. Here are a few issues that are trending:

Wood dust: Cal/OSHA has published a proposal to lower the Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL)  of wood dust from 5 mg/m³ on an 8-hour Time Weighted Average (TWA) down to 1 mg/m³. TWA is measured as total particulate mass and not inhalable dust. In addition, the short term exposure limit was lowered from 10 mg/m³ to 5 mg/m³ total particulate mass. The feasibility of many companies to achieve the lower limits, and the economic burden on woodworkers are among the concerns being raised, particularly since many states follow California’s lead.  

Formaldehyde emissions: The EPA has submitted its revised draft formaldehyde emissions regulation to the OMB for final review before publication, which is tentatively scheduled for July.  While the initial draft called for a one-year grace period from enforcement following final publication, that could change. Meanwhile, the Standards Council of Canada has published the Formaldehyde Emissions Standard for Composite Wood Products (CAN CSA-0160-16). A voluntary standard, it is consistent with the CARB ATCM. In related news, Mexico also is in the process of drafting a formaldehyde regulation.

Hardwood plywood anti-dumping: A U.S. Court of International Trade judge has remanded the ITC’s decision not to impose anti-dumping and countervailing duties on hardwood plywood imported from China. The judge found that the ITC failed to consider the magnitude of the dumping margins in its determination of no material injury. The judge also found the ITC failed to consider the magnitude of the subsidy margins in determining there was no threat of material injury. Hardwood plywood is used in a number of wood products including cabinetry.

Tracking workplace injuries: OSHA is implementing a new rule that changes how companies report data. Under the “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” rule, those companies that are required to report data must submit them electronically within a phase-in period of 2 years (2017-2018). For establishments with 250 or more employees, they must submit their 2016 Form 300A Summary of Work Related Injuries and Illnesses by July 1, 2017.  All 2017 forms (300A, 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses and 301 Injury and Illness Incident Report) must be submitted by July 1, 2018. The rule also applies to establishments with 20-249 employees in certain-high risk industries, including wood products manufacturing.