Saturday, November 9, 2013

OMB Receives ANPRM for OSHA PSM Revision

Yesterday the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced that it had received an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for possible modifications of its Process Safety Management (PSM) program.

According to the Spring 2013 Unified agenda this potential rulemaking could include:

• Clarifying the PSM exemption for atmospheric storage tanks;
• Expanding coverage and requirements for reactivity hazards;
• Expanding the scope of paragraph (j) to cover the mechanical integrity of any safety-critical equipment;
• Expanding the scope of paragraph (l) to require greater organizational management of change from employers; and
• Updating §§1910.106 and 1910.107 based on the latest consensus standards. 

While this ANPRM would appear to be in response to requirement in the President’s Chemical Safety and Security Executive Order (EO 13650) to determine if the “PSM can and should be expanded to address additional regulated substances and types of hazards” {6(c)}, it was placed on the Spring Unified Agenda before July 4th, well before the EO was published.

At this point there is no telling just what changes are being considered. Even when this ANPRM is published it will be more about getting feedback from industry and the public about what types of things should be considered in the rulemaking. There will be no actual language for the potential changes included in this initial document of the rulemaking process.

With the complexity of the issues and the controversies surrounding them, this rulemaking could take quite some time. The ANPRM, however, should move fairly quickly through the review process at OMB. We might see the ANPRM published before Thanksgiving or certainly before Christmas.

It will be interesting to see how long it will take the EPA to initiate a similar rulemaking process for their Risk Management Program. There was nothing in the Spring Unified Agenda to indicate that such a rulemaking was already in progress when the EO was published. 

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