Monday, December 9, 2013

OSHA Publishes PSM RFI

The Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration of the Department of Labor published a request for information notice in today’s Federal Register (78 FR 73756-73768) looking for public input on potential changes to the Process Safety Management program, as well as standards dealing with explosives, flammable liquids, and spray finishing. In an earlier blog post I indicated that this might be an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, but it appears that this is even earlier in the rulemaking process than that.

The background section of this RFI indicates that this action is being taken in response to the requirement in Executive Order 13650 {§6(e)(ii)} to publish an RFI to identify issues related to the PSM standard. While that requirement certainly exists this rulemaking was identified in the Unified Agenda before the EO was published so we should give OSHA at least some credit for getting out front, however briefly, of this process.

The information request addresses 17 potential changes that OSHA is considering addressing. They include:

1. Clarifying the PSM exemption for atmospheric storage tanks;Show citation box
2. Oil- and Gas-Well Drilling and Servicing;
3. Oil- and Gas-Production Facilities;
4. Expanding PSM Coverage and Requirements for Reactivity 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 Equipment;
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 § 1910.109 to Cover Dismantling and Disposal of Explosives, Blasting Agents, and Pyrotechnics;
14. Updating §§ 1910.106 and 1910.107 Based on the Latest Applicable Consensus Standards;
15. Updating the Regulations Addressing the Storage, Handling, and Management of Ammonium Nitrate;
16. Changing Enforcement Policy of the PSM Exemption for Retail Facilities; and
17. Changing Enforcement Policy for Highly Hazardous Chemicals Listed in Appendix A of the PSM Standard without Specific Concentrations.

OSHA is soliciting public comments on each of these potential changes. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (; Docket # OSHA-2013-0020). Public comments should be submitted by March 10th, 2014. Because of the wide ranging subject matter and the breadth of some of the possible changes being considered, I would be very surprised if there are not multiple requests to extend the comment period beyond that date.

Needless to say I will be looking at many of these potential areas for updates in a lot more detail in subsequent posts.

1 comment:

JD Blanc said...

It's good to know that they are taking public comments about this changes. What workers think and opinions are very important, their lives is always at risk for these kinds of jobs.

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