July 31, 2014 by Hazmat Management
The Environmental Protection Agency has published a Request for Information (RFI) to seek public comment on potential revisions to its Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations and related programs.
The EPA is looking to modernize its regulations as required under Executive Order 13650: Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security.
“Chemical safety and security are a shared commitment among government, industry, public interest groups and communities,” Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, said in a statement. “We are reaching out to all these partners to ask for their suggestions and comments to help us improve the Risk Management Program, and in turn improve safety and security of chemical facilities.”
During the 90-day comment period, EPA asks for information and data on specific regulatory elements and process safety management approaches to enhance public health and safety, and aid local fire, police, and emergency response personnel to prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies. The information received will be used when reviewing chemical hazards covered by the RMP and to determine how this program should be expanded to improve chemical facility safety. The RFI does not commit the agency to rulemaking.
EO 13650 requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and EPA to review the chemical hazards covered by their existing risk management programs and develop options to improve those programs. OSHA issued an RFI on potential changes to its Process Safety Management (PSM) standard on December 9, 2013. EPA’s RFI closely coordinates with the potential changes to OSHA’s PSM program for accident prevention measures.
The RFI addresses potentially updating the list of RMP regulated substances, and adjusting threshold quantities and toxic endpoints based on Acute Exposure Guideline Level (AEGL) toxicity values. The RFI seeks comment on strengthening or clarifying several existing process safety elements under the RMP including compliance audits, maintenance of safety critical equipment, managing organizational changes, emergency response capabilities, and incident investigation.
It also seeks comment on adding additional risk management program elements, such as consideration of using inherently safer technology, process safety metrics, automated monitoring of releases, emergency drills, stop work authority, and addressing facility location (siting) risks. Some of the items under consideration were discussed at the public listening sessions held on the EO or in comments received on the January 2014 EO Section 6(a) options for policy, regulations and standards modernization to improve chemical facility risk management.
To view EPA’s RFI and provide public comment, please click here.