Regulation of worker exposure to wood dust moves another step closer in California, where the state Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) closed a comments period on May 19.

The state’s effort to regulate exposure to wood dust began in 2010. The working rule would limit exposure to all hardwood and softwood dust in primary and secondary manufacturing, and would set permissible redwood exposure at half the levels of all other woods.

Columbia Forest Products notes in its blog report that the proposed rule would tighten the limits for wood dust exposure to 1 milligram per cubic meter and lower western red cedar dust limits to 0.5 milligrams per cubic meter.

California’s OSHA has identified wood dust as a skin irritant and harmful if inhaled.

To get wood dust down to the proposed level could include enclosed work stations with controlled environments and workers outside those places wearing personal protective equipment all the time.

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