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California OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit Proposed Change (Wood Dust Rule)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Annette Ferri
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California OSHA Permissible Exposure Limit Proposed Change (Wood Dust Rule)

In March of this year, the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) proposed lowering the existing permissible exposure limit (PEL) for wood dust from 5 mg/m3 to 1 mg/m3 for total particulate mass. Cal/OSHA has stated that they are not aware of any cost impacts that would be incurred in compliance with the proposed action. Based upon what they call a representative study, they believe that either the affected enterprises are already in compliance with the change or, if mitigation measures are required, that the cost impact will be nominal. In making this determination, OSHA has listed several dust mitigation techniques that they feel are being utilized by industry.

NWPCA and other industry representatives do not believe the Cal/OSHA claims are correct, but need to determine the state of the industry’s capability to comply. To make that determination, we hope that members of the industry will be willing to take a few moments to complete the short survey intended to provide further information on the feasibility of mitigating wood dust exposure in the workplace.

As you will note in the survey questions, we would also like to determine your company’s familiarity and experience with these mitigations measures in order to test Cal/OSHA’s claims as to use and costs. All responses will be kept confidential. Any data presented to Cal/OSHA will be aggregated with no company names included. Additionally, if you would like to have a copy of the industry results of the survey or if you have any questions regarding the survey please contact Stewart Holm, Chief Scientist, American Wood Council, 202-463-2709.

Industry representatives have scheduled a meeting with Cal/OSHA for the end of October to discuss their proposal and the viability of their claim that compliance will be “easy for the industry.” Accordingly, a prompt response to the survey is necessary to have summarized the data prior to the meeting.

Complete the survey here.


Patrick Atagi
Vice President, Advocacy & External Affairs
703-519-6104 Ext. 204

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