The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has published new documentation to help businesses with chemical processing operations comply with the Process Safety Management Standard. The agency appears to have issued the guides, which number between 32 and 38 pages, in response to emerging trends or specific incidents of note.
The report, aimed at storage companies, included descriptions of several serious incidents involving harmful chemicals, including one 2013 event in which an entire facility was destroyed in a series of fires – the result of improper propane storage practices. The version pertaining to small businesses features no examples but outlines the ways in which employees can sustain injuries due to PSM noncompliance. OSHA offers concrete injury and fatality data in the guide designed for explosives and pyrotechnics manufacturers. The agency issued 10 PSM-related citations for 19 worker fatalities between 1992 and 2015. This development prompted OSHA to release supplementary materials for enterprises within this niche industry.
The documents do not cover the entirety of the PSM but instead mentioned key aspects of the standard. Many of the recommendations overlap across all three reports. OSHA advises the firms to emphasize activities centered on mechanical integrity, Process Safety Information and training.
Each resource contains an extensive section on proper training protocol. The agency advises all organizations, regardless of industry, to provide instruction at new hire orientation and follow up with refresher courses to ensure that employees are up to date on the latest chemical handling techniques. OSHA also warns businesses to update all on-site hazard communications so that workers are aware of the dangers they face. Of course, these actions should be part of a larger safety strategy that takes PSM concerns into consideration.
“Implementing the required safety programs helps prevent fires, explosions, large chemical spills, toxic gas releases, runaway chemical reactions, and other major incidents,” the agency explained in the newsletter announcing the new resources.
All three of the new PSM guides are available online on the OSHA website.