Changes may soon be coming to chemical facilities and oil refineries. Under new instructions issued in the final days of the Obama administration, these operations could see closer attention from inspectors.
Changes to OSHA Programs
The directive labeled “PSM (Process Safety Management) Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program” was released on January 23rd. According to Bloomberg BNA, the changes renew a National Emphasis Program for facilities with highly hazardous chemicals above specified quantities. Under these new OSHA changes, facilities with covered chemicals above certain levels are required to take actions to avoid the chances of an unplanned release. In 2016, OSHA issued 727 violations totaling more than $3,000,000 in fines.
For the first time, this also incorporates oil refineries under the same document. Said documents also instruct agency inspectors to use data from the EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP) to identify sites for closer attention. Other changes include specifying that fireworks manufacturing facilities are considered explosive manufacturing plants under the initiative. Independent guidelines for inspecting fireworks manufacturers, storage facilities, and stores were updated by OSHA in 2011.
What is the Impact?
The update stated that inspections associated with the program would begin immediately in all regions. However, OSHA and the Labor Department are currently without Senate-confirmed leadership in Washington, DC. As a result, action may result slower than expected and it is unknown if the document will lead to a change in OSHA policies. According again to Bloomberg BNA, an official at the National Association of Chemical Distributors will warn member companies that they may see an increase in these PSM inspections. This emphasis program could be one tool the outgoing OSHA is using to focus inspections after the change in administration reduced the chance of PSM programs being continuously updated. The entire document is available here.
US Hazmat Rentals
Take steps towards safety to avoid costly fines from OSHA. With new updates coming and more facility inspections likely, storing chemicals and other hazardous materials in the correct manner can save your business. Call US Hazmat Rentals and keep safety the number one priority at the workplace.