The CSB, an independent federal agency charged with conducting root cause investigations of chemical accidents at fixed industrial facilities, announced on December 1, 2014, that it added “Modernize U.S. Process Safety Management Regulations” as its newest “Most Wanted Safety Improvement.” The agency has a statutory mandate to address the sufficiency of OSHA and EPA regulations.
Over the last two decades, the CSB has made a number of recommendations related to OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) program and EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP), many of which have not been fully implemented. By adding the modernizing of U.S. process safety management regulations to the CSB’s Most Wanted Safety Improvement list, the agency is identifying this issue as one of the board’s most important recommendations-related goals.
CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “As Chairperson of the CSB I see this as an important opportunity to advance national process safety management reform by advocating for this issue as part of the board’s Most Wanted Chemical Safety Improvements Program. My hope is that reform will help to prevent future catastrophic accidents.”
The CSB’s recommendations to EPA and OSHA may result in those agencies initiating rule-making to revise the existing regulations.
Recommendations to OSHA include adding additional management system elements to include the use of leading and lagging indicators to drive process safety performance and provide stop work authority to employees and expansion of the rule’s coverage to include the oil and gas exploration and production sector.
Recommendations to EPA include expansion of the rule’s coverage to include reactive chemicals, high and/or low explosives, and ammonium nitrate as regulated substances and to change enforcement policies for retail facilities and adding new prevention program requirements, including automated detection and monitoring, contractor selection and oversight, public disclosure of information, and, for petroleum refineries, attributes of goal-setting regulatory approaches.
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