OSHA has scheduled a first-ever virtual stakeholder meeting June 28, 2010, to seek input about combustible dust workplace hazards, according to an agency press release. This virtual meeting format provides quick and easy access to a broader audience such as small businesses who would otherwise not be able to participate. Comments from the meeting will be used to help the agency develop a proposed standard on combustible dust. Further details are available in theFederal Registernotice.

Since 1980, more than 130 workers have been killed and more than 780 injured in combustible dust explosions. This virtual stakeholder meeting is the fourth in a series of stakeholder meetings addressing combustible dust hazards.

"OSHA is committed to expanding the opportunity for the public to engage in its rulemaking activities, and this virtual stakeholder meeting will afford a wide range of stakeholders the opportunity to participate," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA David Michaels. "This is an important rulemaking, and we want to ensure that all interested stakeholders have an opportunity to send us their comments and suggestions."

Combustible dusts comprise fine particles, fibers, chips, chunks or flakes that, under certain conditions, can cause a fire or explosion when suspended in air. Types of dusts include metal (aluminum and magnesium), wood, plastic, rubber, coal, flour, sugar and paper, among others.

Individuals can register to participate in the Web chat by accessing www.dol.gov/dol/chat.htm. The live chat will be held for one hour, beginning at 1 p.m. EDT. After that, individuals will have continuous access to this site through July 7, 2010, to provide feedback and receive additional information. For general and technical information, contact Mat Chibbaro, OSHA Office of Safety Systems, at 202-693-2255. Press inquiries should be directed to Jennifer Ashley, OSHA Office of Communications, at 202-693-1999.