Answered by Tim Lease, P.E., President of WL Port-Land Systems, Inc.

Q. "What’s the best way to retrofit an existing feed mill facility in order to comply with OSHA’s combustible dust program?"

A. A.G.L., OSHA’s Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program was re-issued in March, 2008 following the Georgia sugar plant explosion a month earlier which got a lot of notoriety. Then, later, in 2011, a grain elevator exploded in Atchison, Kansas, killing several people which kept the spotlight on the OSHA program.

It is expected that there will be increased enforcement activities in the future, especially on certain industry groups, like the feed industry.

And so, it’s important to do whatever is necessary in existing facilities to not only meet OSHA’s program but, from a practical perspective, to prevent fugitive dust from creating hazardous accumulations and also to eliminate increased costs associated with material shrink and excessive housekeeping.