OSHA Adds 6 Industries to its Combustible Dust NEP Program

The revised program added industries with a higher likelihood of having combustible dust hazards.

2 Min Read
OSHA revises Combustible Dust NEP
OSHA has revised its Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program, to include six industries that it found had a higher likelihood of having combustible dust hazards or experienced combustible dust-related fatalities/catastrophes.Image courtesy of Pattadis Walarput/Getty Images

 The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a revised Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program in late January 2023. The purpose of the revised emphasis program is to continue OSHA inspections of facilities that generate or handle combustible dusts likely to cause fire, flash fire, deflagration and explosion hazards.

OSHA initiated the Combustible Dust NEP in October 2007 after many combustible dust incidents resulted in numerous fatalities and serious injuries. The agency then reissued the program in March 2008 after a combustible dust explosion at a sugar refinery in Georgia. Since 2007, the agency has conducted about 600 inspections annually under this emphasis program.

The NEP was revised based on enforcement history and combustible dust incident reports. In 2018, wood and food products made up an average of 70 percent of the materials involved in combustible dust fires and explosions. Incident reports indicate that the majority of the industries involved in combustible dust hazards are wood processing, agricultural and food production and lumber production, but others are susceptible as well.

The revised program provides a new approach for locating and inspecting subject establishments. The following industries were added to the program because OSHA found they had a higher likelihood of having combustible dust hazards, or experienced combustible dust-related fatalities/catastrophes:

  • 311812 - Commercial Bakeries

  • 325910 - Printing Ink Manufacturing

  • 321912 - Cut Stock, Resawing Lumber, and Planning

  • 316110 - Leather and Hide Tanning and Finishing

  • 321214 - Truss Manufacturing

  • 424510 - Grain and Field Bean Merchant Wholesalers

"The combustible dust NEP is one the agency's important programs for proactively inspecting the nation's most hazardous facilities before a catastrophic incident occurs," said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker."The results of a combustible dust fire or explosion can be catastrophic to workers and the facilities that they work."

The revised NEP directive replaces the March 2008 directive and remains in effect until OSHA issues a cancellation notice.

The directive does not replace another similar OSHA directive referred to as the grain handling facility directive, but it may cover operations involving grain processing that are outside the scope of the grain handling directive.

About the Author(s)

Powder Bulk Solids Staff

Established in 1983, Powder & Bulk Solids (PBS) serves industries that process, handle, and package dry particulate matter, including the food, chemical, and pharmaceutical markets.

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