EPA to Include Employees in Chemical Safety Inspections

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released interim guidance that would provide greater transparency in the agency’s chemical safety inspections process.

Under the guidance, EPA inspectors will offer employees and employee representatives the opportunity to participate in chemical safety inspections. In addition, EPA will request that state and local agencies adopt similar procedures under the Risk Management Program.

Through this program, EPA seeks to reduce the risks to surrounding communities that arise from the management, use or storage of certain hazardous chemicals. Owners and operators of covered facilities must develop a risk management plan, which includes facility plans for the prevention and response to chemical accidents. Under the Clean Air Act, the Chemical Accident Prevention Provisions require facilities that produce, handle, process, distribute, or store certain chemicals to develop a Risk Management Program, prepare a risk management plan, and submit the plan to EPA.

The agency expects to issue final guidance on participation of employees and employee representative in RMP inspections later this year.

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