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July 22, 2014

OSHA Process Safety Management Standard – Stay Updated on the Future of Safety Standards

Hundreds of thousands of companies have one thing in common when it comes to dealing with chemicals – they use Process Safety Management (PSM). 

PSM is regulated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) throughPicture 136 the Process Safety Management Standard, 29 CFR 1910.119, titled Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals.  PSM is a regulation enforced in the United States.  It applies to companies that handle any of more than 130 specific toxic and reactive chemicals, including specific quantities of flammable liquids and gases in a covered process.

Simply put, PSM is having the right people with the right skills implement appropriately designed process safety programs, all motivated by the right organizational culture, in the right way.

Rising Awareness

After last year’s explosion at a Texas fertilizer warehouse in April 2013, awareness has risen for issues regarding hazardous chemicals and the potential community effects of a major incident, as well as increased concerns over the fact that reactive and unstable materials are not currently included in the listing of highly hazardous chemicals in the OSHA Process Safety Management regulation. 

In response, U.S. government regulators are focusing new efforts on the chemical process industries, which may result in new or modified legislation and oversight. An executive order (EO #13650) given by the White House directs several agencies within the government, including OSHA, to improve chemical facility safety and security by establishing several working groups to identify "best practices to reduce safety and security risks in the production and storage of potentially harmful chemicals."

Proposed Changes

1. Clarifying the PSM exemption for atmospheric storage tanks.

2. Subjecting oil- and gas-well drilling and servicing to PSM requirements.

3. Enforcing PSM requirements at oil- and gas-well production facilities.

4. Expanding PSM coverage and requirements for reactive hazards.

5. Updating the list of highly hazardous chemicals in Appendix A of the PSM standard.

6. Revising the PSM standard to require additional management-system elements.

7. Amending paragraph (d) of the PSM standard to require evaluation of updates to applicable recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices (RAGAGEP).

8. Clarifying the PSM standard by adding a definition for RAGAGEP.

9. Expanding the scope of paragraph (j) of the PSM standard to cover the mechanical integrity of any safety-critical element.

10. Clarifying paragraph (l) of the PSM standard with an explicit requirement that employers manage organizational changes.

11. Revising paragraph (n) of the PSM standard to require coordination of emergency planning with local emergency response authorities.

12. Revising paragraph (o) of the PSM standard to require third-party compliance audits.

13. Expanding the requirements of section 1910.109 to cover dismantling and disposal of explosives, blasting agents, and pyrotechnics.

14. Updating sections 1910.106 and 1910.107 based on the latest applicable consensus standards.

15. Updating the regulations addressing storage, handling, and management of ammonium nitrate.

16. Changing enforcement policy of PSM exemption for retail facilities.

17. Changing enforcement policy for highly hazardous chemicals listed in Appendix A of the PSM standard without specific concentrations.

To read the specific proposals, click here >>

Now we want to hear your thoughts on the subject… What do you like about this proposal?

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