Sunday, March 9, 2014

Public Comments on OSHA PSM ANPRM – 03-09-14

As I noted earlier this week, the deadline for the comments on the OSHA advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) for possible changes to the Process Safety Management Association has been extended until the end of the month; the earlier deadline would have been tomorrow. The poor turnout (only 13 comments submitted to date and only 8 of those from industry) certainly played a role in the decision.

The following organizations posted comments as of Friday:

Private Citizen Comments

Typically for these types of rulemakings the comments received from private citizens are generally simple single issue comments and most often they are part of a campaign organized by some activist organization to lend weight to their current campaign. That has not been the case with this ANPRM. Only two of the private citizen comments received to date fell into this category and neither were part of any organized campaign.

The other three comments were obviously written by people working in the chemical process industry and they provided very informative comments with specific suggestions that deserve serious consideration. For instance, one commentor provided suggested wording changes to the PSM standard to address the issue of using ‘used’ equipment in a new installation.

Another commentor provided a lengthy, informative discussion about the issue of the current PSM exemption for atmospheric storage tanks. Another wants OSHA to consider adding provisions to include in PSM coverage chemicals that are held at above their flash points in chemical processes.

Industry Comments

NOTE: The numbers in parentheses indicates the number of commentors that raised the issue.

One of the primary issues raised in the industry comments (6) was the request for an extension of the time to submit comments. As noted in the OSHA notice earlier this week, the commentors suggested that the deadline be changed to match that of a similar EO 13650 request for information covering similar ground (it actually included the PSM changes as part of the request).

A suggestion was made (1) to update the flammable liquids (29 CFR 1910.106) and spray finishing standards (29 CFR 1910.107) to reflect the industry specific changes made to NFPA 33. This would allow OSHA to exempt specific industries where there was an historically low incidence of chemical process accidents.

Another suggestion (2) was made that the atmospheric tanks exemption should only apply to terminal operations since there was historically little chance of worker injuries in those operations. This would then specifically require that facilities with atmospheric tanks containing PSM covered materials to include those in their PSM process.

No comments:

/* Use this with templates/template-twocol.html */