OSHA Considering Possible Revisions to PSM Standard

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On August 30th, OSHA issued a notice of stakeholder meeting for interested parties to participate in an informal virtual meeting on WebEx concerning the rulemaking project for revisions to its Process Safety Management (PSM) standard.  In the meeting, OSHA will provide an overview of work on the project and invites participants to provide public comments related to possible revisions to the standard.  The meeting was originally planned for September 28th, 2022, but has been rescheduled to October 12th, 2022.  Interested participants can register here.

Background

The PSM standard (29 CFR 1910.119) was published in 1992 in response to the continuous problem of catastrophic chemical-release incidents.  It requires employers to implement safety programs that identify, evaluate, and control highly hazardous chemicals.  The standard has not been updated since its publication 30 years ago.

Potential Changes

The potential changes to the scope of the current PSM standard include:
  1. Clarifying the exemption for atmospheric storage tanks
  2. Expanding the scope to include oil and gas-well drilling and servicing
  3. Resuming enforcement for oil and gas production facilities
  4. Expanding PSM coverage and requirements for reactive chemical hazards
  5. Updating and expanding the list of highly hazardous chemicals in Appendix A
  6. Amending paragraph (k) of the Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard (1910.109) to extend PSM requirements to cover dismantling and disposal of explosives and pyrotechnics
  7. Clarifying the scope of the retail facilities exemption
  8. Defining the limits of a PSM covered process
The potential changes to particular provisions of the current PSM standard include:
  1. Amending paragraph (b) to include a definition of RAGAGEP
  2. Amending paragraph (b) to include a definition of critical equipment
  3. Expanding paragraph (c) to strengthen employee participation and include stop work authority
  4. Amending paragraph (d) to require evaluation of updates to applicable recognized and generally accepted as good engineering practices (RAGAGEP)
  5. Amending paragraph (d) to require continuous updating of collected information
  6. Amending paragraph (e) to require formal resolution of Process Hazard Analysis team recommendations that are not utilized
  7. Expanding paragraph (e) by requiring safer technology and alternatives analysis
  8. Clarifying paragraph (e) to require consideration of natural disasters and extreme temperatures in their PSM programs, in response to E.O. 13990
  9. Expanding paragraph (j) to cover the mechanical integrity of any critical equipment
  10. Clarifying paragraph (j) to better explain ‘‘equipment deficiencies’’
  11. Clarifying that paragraph (l) covers organizational changes
  12. Amending paragraph (m) to require root cause analysis
  13. Revising paragraph (n) to require coordination of emergency planning with local emergency-response authorities
  14. Amending paragraph (o) to require third-party compliance audits
  15. Including requirements for employers to develop a system for periodic review of and necessary revisions to their PSM management systems (previously referred to as ‘‘Evaluation and Corrective Action’’)
  16. Requiring the development of written procedures for all elements specified in the standard, and to identify records required by the standard along with a records retention policy (previously referred to as ‘‘Written PSM Management Systems’’)

Part of the PSM standard (1910.119(h)) requires employers, when selecting contractors, to obtain and evaluate information regarding the contract employer’s safety performance and programs.  It does not appear the potential changes will affect that provision.  Appruv’s qualification service can help employers meet and exceed that requirement.

To learn more about how Appruv can help, contact us today.  For more resources, check out the Appruv Resource Center.

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