Rely on Occupational Safety & Health ReporterSM for full news coverage and documentation of federal and state workplace safety and health programs, standards, legislation,...
By Sam Pearson
Chemical facilities and oil refineries covered under OSHA’s Process Safety Management program could see closer attention from inspectors under new instructions issued in the final days of the Obama administration.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration explained the changes in a directive, “PSM Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program” (CPL 03-00-021) dated Jan. 17 and released Jan. 23.
The changes renew a National Emphasis Program for facilities with highly hazardous chemicals above specified quantities and for the first time incorporates oil refineries under the same document. The document also instructs agency inspectors to use data from EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP) to identify sites for closer attention.
Other changes include specifying that fireworks manufacturing facilities are considered explosives manufacturing plants under the initiative. OSHA updated its guidelines for inspecting fireworks manufacturers, storage facilities and stores in 2011 (CPL 01-01-053).
Under OSHA’s Process Safety Management program, facilities with covered chemicals above certain levels are required to take actions to avoid the chances of an unplanned release. OSHA issued 727 violations totaling a proposed $3,094,187 in fines for violations of the PSM program in 2016, according to agency data.
The emphasis program supersedes a program from November 2011, the document said.
The directive said that inspections associated with the program “will begin immediately in all regions.” But, with OSHA and the Labor Department without Senate-confirmed leadership, it is unclear if the document will lead to a change in OSHA policies.
Jennifer Gibson, vice president of regulatory affairs at the National Association of Chemical Distributors, told Bloomberg BNA Jan. 24 the group would warn member companies they might see increased PSM inspections.
“This is one action item OSHA was able to take immediately and appears to be a way for the agency to leverage its inspection resources to make sure EPA RMP facilities are covered,” Gibson said in an e-mail.
The emphasis program could be one tool the outgoing OSHA had to focus inspections after the change in administration reduced the chance its rulemaking to update the PSM program (RIN:1218-AC82) would continue, Gibson said.
An American Chemistry Council spokesman declined to comment Jan. 24, citing the political uncertainty at OSHA.
To contact the reporter on this story: Sam Pearson in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at email@example.com
The document is available at http://src.bna.com/lEe.
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)