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OSHA PSM Standard: Proposed Changes

December 17, 2013

oshaIn the year 1992 the United States Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) published its Process Safety Management (PSM) standard (29 CFR 1910.119). This was a landmark document for two reasons. First, it required large numbers of companies in the process industries to develop and implement a PSM program. Second, the standard was used by many companies and in many nations to provide the basis for their own PSM programs and rules.

However, 21 years is a long time, and the original PSM rule needs updating in many areas. So OSHA has published a list of 17 proposed changes. The agency is requesting comments on those changes through their Request for Information (RFI) process.

quill_logoWe have written a short, informal overview of the suggested changes. It can be downloaded from www.stb07.com/downloads/OSHA-PSM-Changes.pdf.

The following general comments can be made about the RFI.

  • Much of the discussion and justification for changes refer to actual incidents. OSHA seems to be using a case-based approach to process safety.
  • There is considerable cross-referencing to other federal and state standards, including New Jersey’s TCPA, the EPA’s RMP and BSEE’s SEMS.
  • It is likely that the number of companies and facilities covered by the standard will increase substantially. Many of them will be small organizations that do not currently have process safety programs.
  • The proposals to do with RAGAGEP reflect a healthy focus on engineering.
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