Rulemaking Watch:

OSHA's Process Safety Management Standard and EPA's Risk Management Program

Rulemaking History and Status (Last updated November 30, 2015)

Following the April 2013 explosion and fire that occurred at a fertilizer storage and distribution facility in West, Texas, and caused 15 fatalities and hundreds of injuries, President Obama issued Executive Order 13650, Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, on August 1, 2013. The Executive Order established the Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group, a working group of federal agencies tasked with, among other things, developing options for enhancing and modernizing policies, regulations, and standards to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities.

To date, both OSHA and EPA have issued Requests for Information (RFIs) as a result of the Order, and will soon initiate rulemaking to revise the PSM standard and RMP regulations. The CSB submitted comprehensive responses to both OSHA and EPA in response to their RFIs. The responses summarize lessons learned from CSB accident investigations over the course of CSB's history.

In response to OSHA's RFI on PSM, the CSB recommended that OSHA:

  • Expand the rule's coverage to include the Oil and Gas Sector and add reactive chemicals, among others;
  • Add additional management system elements to include the use of leading and lagging indicators to drive proces safety performance and provide stop work authority to employees;
  • Update existing Process Hazard Analysis requirements to include the documented use of inherently safer systems, hierarchy of controls, damage mechanism hazard reviews, and sufficient and adequate safeguards;
  • Develop more explicit requirements for facility/process siting and human factors, including fatigue;
  • Define and evaluate updates to Recognized And Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practice (RAGAGEP);
  • Add safety-critical equipment to existing mechanical integrity requirements;
  • Clarify Management of Change requirements to ensure they are applied to organizational changes
  • Require coordination of covered facility emergency plans with local emergency response authorities; and
  • Permit third-party compliance audits.

For more information, read the full CSB response to OSHA's Request for Information on revisions to the PSM Standard.

In response to EPA's RFI for RMP, in addition to PSM program related enhancements mentioned above, the CSB recommended that EPA:

  • Expand 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;
  • Enhance development and reporting of worst case and alternate release scenarios; and
  • Add 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.

For more information, read the full CSB response to EPA's Request for Information on revisions to the RMP Regulation.

In the Spring 2015 regulatory agenda released in May 2015, EPA projected that a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for revisions to RMP would be published in September 2015, however, EPA has yet to publish a Proposed Rule, though it has initiated a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR).

OSHA has not convened a Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) panel to consider changes to its PSM Standard. The Fall 2015 regulatory agenda states that OSHA plans to complete the SBREFA panel by April 2016.

OSHA has produced several new policies and guidelines regarding its PSM standard including:

  • Guidance to Regional Administrators on enforcement of the Explosives and Blasting Agents Standard. OSHA is also in the process of developing Regional and Local emphasis programs to more effectively enforce standards for the safe storage of ammonium nitrate.
  • New policies clarifying interpretations of chemicals without concentrations listed in PSM Appendix A and defining RAGAGEP.
  • A memorandum revising the interpretation of the PSM retail exemption.
  • OSHA published FAQs on its revised retail exemption.

The CSB will post updates here as they become available.

PSM and RMP Rulemaking Materials

  • Executive Order 13650 Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security - issued August 1, 2013
  • OSHA's Executive Order 13650 page
  • EPA's Executive Order 13650 page
  • Executive Order 13650 status update - May 2014
  • OSHA's Process Safety Management Standard (29 CFR 1910.119) and related information
  • EPA's Risk Management Program Regulation (40 CFR 68) and related information
  • OSHA's Request for Information on revisions to PSM - published December 9, 2013 (comment period closed March 10, 2014)
  • EPA's Request for Information on revisions to RMP - published July 31, 2014 (comment period closed October 29, 2014)
  • CSB's responses to OSHA's RFI on PSM and EPA's RFI on RMP
  • Docket of public comments in response to OSHA's RFI on PSM and EPA's RFI on RMP
  • CSB's comments on the State of California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Division of Occupational Safety and Health Proposed §5189.1 Version 4.5 - May 26, 2015, Process Safety Management (PSM) for Petroleum Refineries
  • California's draft regulatory text for Process Safety Management of Refineries - published May 26, 2015

Public Resources about Rulemaking:

  • From the Office of the Federal Register: "A Guide to the Rulemaking Process."
  • From OMB and GSA: "Reg Map" (an overview of the federal rulemaking process.)
  • From OSHA: "The OSHA Rulemaking Process." (Flowchart.)
  • From OSHA:  "The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996."