Managing OSHA

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Managing OSHA

Update on Lawsuit Challenging Combustible Dust Provisions of New HAZCOM Standard


Update on Lawsuit Challenging Combustible Dust Provisions of New HAZCOM Standard

On May 24, 2012, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), the National Oilseed Processors Association (NOPA), and the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) filed a petition in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit challenging the provisions of the new hazard communication standard that relate to combustible dust. On November 2, 2012, the court stayed the case pending further settlement discussions between OSHA and the other parties involved. At the end of last month, movement in the lawsuit picked up again.

On March 26, 2013, NGFA and NOPA filed a motion with the court attempting to lift the stay and continue litigation in light of failed negotiations. On April 1, 2013, Corn Refiners Association (CRA) joined the motion. Several days later, on April 3, 2013, OSHA responded to the motion, requesting that the stay remain in place while OSHA continued its settlement negotiations with API. On April 10, 2013, NGFA, NOPA, and CRA replied to OSHA’s opposition. The parties are now waiting on a decision from the court regarding whether the case will proceed or continue to be stayed pending the settlement discussions with API.

On April 5, 2013, the ACC asked to be withdrawn from the case as a result of reaching a settlement with OSHA over their concerns about the new combustible dust provisions. The settlement resulted in a new interpretation letter published by OSHA on March 25, 2013 that explains how combustible dusts are to be treated under the new HAZCOM standard.

For more information, please contact Mark Dreux, Head of the Arent Fox OSHA Group, at 202-857-6405.


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Arent Fox LLP, founded in 1942, is internationally recognized in core practice areas where business and government intersect. With more than 350 lawyers, the firm provides strategic legal counsel and multidisciplinary solutions to clients that range from Fortune 500 corporations to trade associations. The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.