House Committee on Education and Labor
U.S. House of Representatives

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon
Ranking Member

Fiscally responsible reforms for students, workers and retirees.



Dear Colleague

April 30, 2008

CONTACT: Alexa Marrero
(202) 225-4527

Don’t Take Shortcuts on Workplace Safety:
Vote NO on H.R. 5522

Dear Colleague:

The House is scheduled to vote today on H.R. 5522, a bill that demands an abbreviated rulemaking process to protect workers from combustible dust hazards in the workplace. While the bill is well-intentioned, it falls short of the comprehensive approach needed to ensure the most effective protections for workers.

Specifically, H.R. 5522 requires an interim, one-size-fits-all regulation within just 90 days.  Although the bill purports to be a response to the tragic accident at the Imperial Sugar refinery that took place less than three months ago, this legislation does not even take into account the causes of that accident when developing new guidelines.  That’s because the OSHA investigation of the accident is still ongoing.  To force through new regulations without all the necessary information short-changes our workers, who deserve the most effective, comprehensive approach to workplace safety.

We are committed to safe workplaces, and believe the best way to achieve that is through meaningful cooperation on strong safety guidelines.  One example of effective regulation in this area is the current standard to protect against combustible dust explosions in grain facilities.  That standard has been credited with a 60 percent reduction in grain facility explosions.  Yet the bill scheduled for a vote today would discard the process used to develop the successful grain standard in favor of a rushed process that leaves key stakeholders out.

We urge you to reject this effort to undermine proven strategies for developing effective workplace protections.  OSHA must complete its investigation into the Imperial Sugar refinery and use that information to develop the best approach to protect our workers.  For more information, please contact the Education and Labor Committee Republican staff at x5-7101.



Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA)                        
Senior Republican Member                                        
Education and Labor Committee                              


Joe Wilson (R-SC)
Senior Republican Member
Subcommittee on Workforce Protections