Patton Boggs Insights - December 2012: Chemical Safety Board: CSB’s Moure-Eraso: Combustible Dust Standard Needed

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Expressing frustration with the lack of action to control combustible dust hazards, CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso urged the International Code Council (ICC) to adopt a Board recommendation that would strengthen adherence to processes and procedures designed to prevent explosions from combustible dust. Speaking at the ICC’s 10th annual conference in October, Moure-Eraso appealed for ICC ratification of a CSB recommendation. The Board’s proposal seeks revision of the International Fire Code to require mandatory compliance with and enforcement of standards of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), including NFPA 484. “Such a change on dust has the potential of saving many lives in the jurisdictions that would adopt and enforce it,” he said.

Moure-Eraso pointed out that CSB issued a combustible dust hazard study in 2006 that identified 281 dust fires and explosions between 1980 and 2005 that had resulted in 119 fatalities and 718 injuries. Metal dusts fueled 20 percent of the accidents. He said CSB subsequently asked OSHA to issue a combustible dust standard; however, aside from publishing an advanced notice of proposal rulemaking in 2009, holding stakeholder meetings and initiating a combustible dust national emphasis program, no final rule has been released.