OSHA Stakeholder Meeting on PSM
On October 12, 2022 OSHA conducted a “virtual informal stakeholder meeting” to provide an update and receive public comments on its rulemaking project to amend and broaden the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard, 29 C.F.R. 1910.119.
The current rulemaking began with a Request for Information in 2013, followed by a SBREFA panel and report completed in 2016. The stakeholder meeting was the first formal action in the rulemaking since the completion of the SBREFA panel report.
The PSM standard was published in 1992, after several major incidents at chemical facilities in the U.S. and other countries. The standard requires covered facilities to implement process safety management programs covering 14 management system elements for controlling highly hazardous chemicals. Since 1992, several court decisions and the occurrence of a number of large and sometimes fatal releases at chemical handling and processing facilities, have led to calls and proposals to add to the coverage and requirements of the 1992 standard.
In its overview of the rulemaking, OSHA said it is considering 24 changes to the scope and requirements of the PSM standard. A full list of the issues OSHA is considering for change is in the September 20, 2022 Federal Register notice of the stakeholder meeting and on OSHA’s website, at www.osha.gov/process-safety-management.
The one additional item to the issues previously under consideration and presented in the SBREFA panel process is in response to Executive Order 13990, which requires agencies to consider the effects of climate change in regulatory actions. Pursuant to the Executive Order, OSHA said it would propose that PSM-covered facilities include consideration of natural disasters, such as hurricanes and severe flooding, as well as extreme temperatures in their PSM programs.
Following OSHA’s overview presentation of the rulemaking, OSHA took comments from stakeholders. Written comments and materials may be submitted until November 14, 2022.
No dates were given for the next formal step in the rulemaking process, which will likely be issuance of a proposed rule. A number of speakers at the stakeholder meeting criticized OSHA for not moving faster on the rulemaking, and urged that the PSM rule be a priority for the agency.