Environmental Protection

OSHA Extends PSM National Emphasis Program

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has issued Directive 10-05 (CPL 02), effective July 8 and continuing until Sept. 30, telling its regional administrators and enforcement personnel how to carry out an extended National Emphasis Program for process safety management -- that is, control of highly hazardous chemicals at or above the threshold quantities in the PSM standard, 29 CFR 1910.119.

The directive specifies programmed inspections will be conducted in three regions (Regions I -- Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island; VII -- Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri; and X -- Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho) and unprogrammed ones in the other seven OSHA regions.

A programmed inspection is one that is scheduled based on "objective or neutral" criteria, while unprogrammed inspections are made in response to "alleged hazardous working conditions that have been identified at a specific worksite," according to the OSHA field operations manual.

The program is focused mainly on chemical processing facilities, refineries, and water and/or wastewater treatment facilities.

The PSM standard's Appendix A lists 136 chemicals (including formaldehyde, hydrogen sulfide, and methyl isocyanate) with their threshold quantities, at or above which a process involving them is covered by the standard. It also applies to a process involving more than 10,000 pounds of a flammable liquid or gas on site in one location, except for hydrocarbon fuels used for workplace consumption as a fuel. Retail facilities, oil or gas well drilling or servicing operations, and normally unoccupied remote facilities are not covered.

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