Federal agencies have been on a year-long soul searching over their regulations governing hazardous chemicals. A multi-agency task force presented its recommendations to the White House recently and we have already seen OSHA re-open its Process Safety Management (PSM) regulations for a full review. It is all in response to the West, Texas fertilizer disaster and a string of other chemical-related incidents.
Now, the EPA is seeking public comments on its Risk Management Plan (RMP) Rule. the RMP rule says companies that store or use chemicals above certain threshold limits must create plans that include hazard analysis, prevention and emergency response information.
The request for information will be published soon. A pre-release copy is available here. If the link changes after the proposal is published, you should be able to find it at www.regulations.gov by putting “RIN 2050-ZA07 ” in the search box.
Unlike the OSHA PSM proposal, which could greatly expand the types of operations included in the regulations, the EPA proposal appears limited to the industries that are already included in the RMP rule. But it could mean a big change in how the plans are implemented.
It includes a section on Safety Case, a hazard management approach required in the North Sea and other oil and gas areas. The section on Safety Case is interesting because it hints that too many regulations would have to be changed to make Safety Case a viable change, but then says how it could be implemented without changing all the regulations.
The comment period on the EPA proposal is open for 90 days after it is published.