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Unions urge OSHA for emergency standard on combustible dust (2/22)

The Teamsters Union Wednesday joined with the United Food and Commercial Workers in calling on OSHA to issue an emergency standard on combustible dust following a deadly explosion at a sugar plant in Georgia earlier this month, according to PRNewswire.

The Teamsters and UFCW filed a petition with the Labor Department, demanding that OSHA follow the 2006 recommendations of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board to issue a general industry standard aimed at preventing combustible dust explosions. 

Nine workers were killed and dozens of others seriously injured in a workplace accident Feb. 7 at Imperial Sugar in Savannah, Georgia. Combustible dust ignited and caused an explosion.

The Teamsters represent nearly 500 members who are employed at eight sugar processing facilities throughout the United States. UFCW also represents hundreds of workers in sugar plants around the country, including the Domino Sugar plant in Baltimore, where members narrowly escaped harm last November after a combustible dust explosion rocked the facility.

Currently, OSHA has no industry-wide standard on combustible dust. In October the agency launched a National Emphasis Program to address the hazard.

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