WASHINGTON -- The proposed Combustible Dust Rule, announced Oct. 21, 2009, is on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Fall 2010 Unified Agenda released in the December 20 Federal Register.

ComDust is one of 28 issues on OSHA's newest agenda. OSHA commenced rule making to develop a combustible dust standard for general industry, including woodworking, partially based on the U.S. Chemical Safety Board CSB's 2006 study of  combustible dust hazards which identified 281 combustible dust incidents between 1980 and 2005 that killed 119 workers and injured another 718. 

OSHA implemented a Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP) March 11, 2008. Information gathered from the NEP will be used to assist OSHA in the development of a ComDust rule. Since publishing its public announcement to proceed with rule making, OSHA has held four regional stakeholder meetings and a webchat meeting to gather public comments.

The next step in the rule making process is to initiate the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act in April 2011. This step is designed to give small businesses assistance in understanding and complying with regulations and more of a voice in the development of new regulations.

Other issues addressed in OSHA's Fall 2010 agenda of interest to the woodworking industry include:
 
* Proposed Rule -- Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements -- Modernizing OSHA's Reporting System;

* Proposed Rule -- Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements -- NAICS Update and Reporting Revisions;

* Final Rule -- Hazard Communication;

* Final Rule -- Procedures for Handling Discrimination Complaints Under Federal Employee Protection Statutes; and

* Final Rule -- Procedures for the Handling of Retaliation Complaints Under Section 1558 of the Affordable Care Act of 2010.

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