How are OSHA and NFPA standards for combustible dusts different?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets federal standards for workplace safety and has developed regulations that apply to dust explosions. These include standards addressing issues such as materials handling, as well as other safety issues, such as emergency exits. Failure to comply with OSHA regulations could carry serious fines.

Standards set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), on the other hand, are guidelines published by scientists and other leading experts in the field of fire safety. The organization’s primary list, “Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust,” constitutes the most advanced recommendations to protect workers and facilities that encounter combustible dust. NFPA recommendations don’t carry any weight of law, but they are highly respected and are often looked to for guidance when making federal and state regulations.

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