The deadly 2008 dust explosion at Imperial Sugar
triggered legislative and regulatory efforts to 
institute safeguards to prevent against combustible
dust accidents.

SAVANNAH, GA -- U.S. Rep. John Barrow (D-GA), who was reelected to a two-year term on Nov. 2, said he plans to reintroduce legislation to regulate combustible dust, including wood dust.

Barrow's district includes Imperial Sugar of Port Wentworth, GA, site of the Feb. 7, 2008 explosion that killed 14 and injured more than 30 others three years ago.

The tragic incident led Barrow to co-sponsor a combustible dust bill that stalled in the Senate after passing in the House.

In the meantime, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is in the process of potentially creating a federal combustible dust standard. At best OSHA is a year or more away from completing the process. Barrow's bill would require OSHA to craft an interim standard governing engineering controls and safety training within 90 days.

With the Republicans having wrestled control of the House in November, Barrow told the Savannah News that he knows the odds of getting his bill passed are long.Yet, he told the paper, "People's lives are at stake, and we can't afford the time it will take for a permanent standard to work its way through the bureaucracy."

Posted by Rich Christianson

Backgrounder: OSHA ramps up for potential combustible dust rule   Posted 6-9-09

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