OSHA Soliciting Input on Possible Changes To Process Safety Standards, Other Rules

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By Robert Iafolla

Dec. 3 --The Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Dec. 3 that it is soliciting public input on possible revisions to its process safety management standard and three other rules related to prevention of chemical catastrophes.

The public comment period will last 90 days from the publication of a formal request for information in an unspecified future edition of the Federal Register, OSHA said.

The agency apparently made the announcement in anticipation of the White House Office of Management and Budget giving it permission to publish the request for information. OSHA submitted the information request to OMB for approval on Nov. 9. OMB's online registry of regulatory actions still listed the request as under review on Dec. 3.

Requests for information represent a preliminary step in the regulatory process, designed to gather data and views on what--if any--rulemaking actions an agency will go on to take.

Executive Order on Chemical Safety

OSHA has expanded the topics under consideration in response to the Obama administration's Aug. 1 executive order on chemical safety. That order called on the agency to issue a request for information on modernizing of the process safety management standard.

The agency had previously declared, in its regulatory agenda published in July, that it was considering revising the process safety management standard's exemption for atmospheric storage tanks, coverage and requirements for reactivity hazards, and the oversight of the mechanical integrity of safety-critical equipment and organizational management of change from employers. It was also weighing changes to its rules for flammable liquids and spray finishing.

On Dec. 3 the agency added its explosives and blasting agents standard to the list of rules included in the request for information, while also referring to seeking comment on “other policy options to prevent major chemical incidents,” calling it a response to the executive order. The specifics of the request will be available upon publication in the Federal Register.

Depending on the comments that the agency receives, the potential revisions to the process safety management standard could grow into a major rulemaking that impacts all of the regulated community, Jackson Lewis LLP partner Michael T. Taylor told Bloomberg BNA Nov. 13.

 

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Iafolla in Washington at riafolla@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jim Stimson at jstimson@bna.com