The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has scheduled its latest informal stakeholder meetings to continue soliciting comments and suggestions for protecting workers from combustible dust hazards in the workplace. Since 1980, more than 130 workers have been killed and more than 780 injured in combustible dust explosions.

This set of meetings is the third in a series addressing combustible dust hazards. The first meetings were held in Washington, D.C. A second meeting was held in Atlanta to facilitate participation by families of victims of the February 7, 2008, explosion at an Imperial Sugar Company plant in Port Wentworth, Ga., which killed 14 workers and resulted in OSHA issuing nearly $8.8 million in penalties.

OSHA will consider participants' comments in developing a proposed standard for combustible dust.

The Chicago meetings will be held April 21 at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. CDT at the Crowne Plaza Chicago O'Hare Hotel and Conference Center, 5440 North River Road, Rosemont, Ill. A Federal Register notice is available at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_id=21395

Combustible dusts are solids ground into fine particles, fibers, chips, chunks or flakes that can cause a fire or explosion when suspended in air under certain conditions. Types of dusts include metal (aluminum and magnesium), wood, plastic or rubber, coal, flour, sugar and paper, among others.

Individuals interested in participating must register by submitting a notice of intent to participate by April 7. Notices can be submitted electronically by registering at https://www2.ergweb.com/projects/conferences/osha/register-osha-stakeholder.htm. Registrations also can be faxed to 781-674-2906. Or, registrations can be mailed to ERG Inc., 110 Hartwell Ave., Lexington, MA 02421. Registrations that are faxed or mailed should be labeled "Attention: OSHA Combustible Dust Stakeholder Meeting Registration."

For general and technical information, the public may contact Mat Chibbaro, OSHA, Office of Safety Systems, at 202-693-2255. Media inquiries should be directed to Brad Mitchell or Scott Allen, Office of Public Affairs, 312-353-6976.