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Wood dust rule part of OSHA court appeal.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor and the Inter-Industry Wood Dust Coordinating Committee have petitioned the court for a rehearing of the OSHA Air Contaminants Standard which includes wood dust.

The July 7 ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals threw out the standard of 5mg/[m.sub.3] for wood dust and 2.5mg/[m.sub.3] for western red cedar. The three-man panel ruled that OSHA did not prove that its permissible exposure limits (PELs) reduced significant risk or were technically or economically feasible.

OSHA questioned the court's authority to invalidate all 428 standards and the method by which it ruled whether significant risk reduction or feasibility was established.

In its petition filed August 27, OSHA states, "Since the agency did not violate any duty to the industry petitioners in enacting hundreds of PELs that do not affect them, it follows that the court lacked constitutional authority to invalidate those PELs."

OSHA's risk and economic feasibility determinations were not given proper consideration, according to the petition. "OSHA based its conclusions regarding feasibility on a huge evidentiary record, including a massive industry survey, OSHA compliance and NIOSH exposure data, a lengthy analysis of control technology by substance prepared by technical experts, site visits, published profit and sales data and rulemaking comments."

The Inter-Industry Wood Dust Coordinating Committee, a coalition of more than 20 industry organizations, has urged he court to reexamine the wood dust ruling apart from the other substances.

According to Katherine Rhyne, counsel for the IIWDCC, "The wood dust standard is supported by a record as extensive as virtually any single-substance rule OSHA has ever promulgated."

It is not know if and when the court will decide to rehear the Air Contaminants Standard or to reexamine wood dust alone. For the moment, employers are expected to control worker exposure under OSHA's general duty clause.
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Title Annotation:Trends and News; Occupational Safety and Health Administration
Author:Dunne, Beverly
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Sep 1, 1992
Previous Article:Wood production employees earn less $.
Next Article:American Red Gum: a two timber species.

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