NACD Urges OSHA to Consider Whether Change is Necessary for Chemical Process Safety Management

The National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD) is urging the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to focus its efforts for preventing major chemical accidents on outreach, compliance assistance and effective enforcement of the current standard rather than making the process safety management (PSM) standards more complex.


Through a request for information (RFI) on PSM and prevention of major chemical accidents regulations, an initiative related to Executive Order 13650 – Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, OSHA has proposed several options for expanding the scope of the PSM standard. In response, NACD has urged a formal and thorough rulemaking process to determine whether changes should be made, stressing the significant impact such rule changes would have on small businesses.


The association notes that OSHA would need to follow the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act and convene a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel to thoroughly assess the proposal’s impact.


Among the changes, OSHA has proposed expanding PSM coverage and the requirements for reactivity hazards. In its comments, NACD urges the agency to refrain from attempting to define or specifically cover chemical reactivity hazards in the PSM standard, stating, "Chemical reactivity involves too many factors and is too complex to be effectively defined … PSM already covers several substances that are highly reactive, and PSM-regulated facilities evaluate reactivity during process hazard analyses."


The association also recommended that OSHA and other agencies partner with process safety experts and industry organizations to provide more education and resources on reactive hazards, including reinstituting an alliance among OSHA, the Environmental Protection Agency, universities and major chemical industry trade organizations to improve information sharing on reactive hazards.


To review NACD’s complete comments, visit http://nacd.com/docs/regulatory/2014/NACD%20PSM%20Comments%203-31-14.pdf.