OSHA in Hot Seat at House Hearing

OSHA Administrator Edwin Foulke Jr. will be in the hot seat March 12 when he battles tough questions before the House Education and Labor Committee. Several committee legislators are bidding to pass a bill that would force the agency to issue a combustible dust standard.

Foulke is the leading witness at the hearing, which will discuss H.R. 5522, The Combustible Dust Explosion and Fire Prevention Act of 2008. The measure was proposed by Committee chairman Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., and Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., after a massive explosion rocked the Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, Ga., killing 12 workers and critically injuring 11 others.

The Miller-Barrow legislation would force OSHA to issue rules regulating combustible industrial dusts, like sugar dust, that can build up to hazardous levels and explode.

Other witnesses include Amy Spencer, senior chemical engineer for the National Fire Protection Association, and Bill Wright, interim chair for the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. Also testifying will be Tammy Miser, who lost her brother, Shawn Boone, 33, in an explosion at the Hayes Lemmerz plant in Huntington, Ind., in 2003.

Legislators likely will grill Foulke on why the agency failed to follow recommendations proposed by CSB in its October 2006 report to issue standards that would effectively control the risk of industrial dust explosions.

OccupationalHazards.com will be on site to report on the hearing.

TAGS: Archive OSHA
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