CBO: Combustible Dust Standard Carries $10 Million Annual Price Tag for OSHA

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated it would cost OSHA $10 million a year to enforce a final combustible dust standard called for by legislation introduced by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., that currently is pending Senate approval.

Implementing H.R. 5522, the Worker Protection against Combustible Dust Explosions and Fires Act, would cost OSHA $1 million in FY 2009 and $41 million over the 2009-2013 period, CBO said. The $1 million price tag covers economic and feasibility studies to support the development of the final standard.

The annual $10 million is about a 5 percent increase in OSHA's enforcement workload, CBO stated, but would not affect revenues or direct spending.

The bill, passed by the House of Representatives April 30, would require OSHA to issue an interim final standard regulating combustible dust within 90 days and a final standard within 18 months of the bill's enactment.

CBO conducted its cost estimate based on information provided by OSHA and other safety analysts.

OSHA Fines Ohio Sunoco Refinery $330,000

OSHA proposed $330,000 in fines against Sunoco Inc.'s oil refinery in Oregon, Ohio, for alleged willful and serious workplace safety violations.

OSHA cited the refinery for 27 serious violations and three willful violations during a November 2007 inspection. The most critical citations were issued for hazards related to the size and design of pressure relief system; failing to implement a mechanical integrity program for pressure relief devices and fixed equipment; and failing to correct deficiencies associated with vessel and piping wall thicknesses.

In a statement sent to Occupational Hazards, Sunoco said it was committed to working with OSHA to resolve the agency's findings and that its management as well as its union representatives were “reviewing the report, and are looking at it as an opportunity to maintain [their] efforts at continuous improvement.”

The refinery also stated, “If following our evaluation we disagree with the violations, we will take the steps to contest them within 15 business days as is required by OSHA.”

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