OSHA may be planning to make some changes to its Process Safety Management (PSM) standard with some developments expected to happen later this year.
The PSM standard, 40 CFR 1910.119, hasn’t been updated since its publication more than 30 years ago, but changes are expected to be made in late 2023, according to Michael Dillon and Michael Nines of law firm Manko Gold Katcher & Fox.
A brief background
The PSM standard covers employers who have a threshold quantity of a listed chemical or flammable material, or manufacture explosives or pyrotechnics.
A comprehensive management program integrating technologies, procedures and management practices that help to assure safe and health workplaces is required under the standard.
The PSM standard’s shortcomings were brought to light when a 2013 ammonium nitrate explosion at a fertilizer storage facility in Texas led to an Obama-era executive order. That order tasked OSHA with identifying issues related to modernizing the standard.
The order led to the PSM standard being placed in the pre-rule stage on OSHA’s regulatory agenda.
Potential changes under consideration
The potential changes being considered to the current PSM may include:
- clarifying the exemption for atmospheric storage tanks
- expanding the scope to include oil and gas-well drilling and servicing
- resuming enforcement for oil and gas production facilities
- expansion of PSM coverage and requirements for reactive chemical hazards
- updating and expanding the list of highly hazardous chemicals in Appendix A
- 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
- clarifying the scope of the retail facilities exemption, and
- defining the limits of a PSM covered process.
With OSHA planning to finish analyzing comments from the stakeholder meeting by late 2023, Dillon and Nines said the agency may be ready to prepare a proposed rulemaking at that time.