Dates: Dec 7, 2020
On October 27, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals 10th circuit handed down a decision on interconnectivity of equipment as it pertains to OSHA Process Safety Management Standard 1910.119 in a case Eugene Scalia, Secretary Of Labor vs. Wynnewood Refining Co., LLC and Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.
Court Decision (read it here) ruled that a boiler was part of the covered process, although it did not contain any highly hazardous chemicals, because it was connected to the process. An indirect physical link between the boiler and the covered units was deemed sufficient for PSM coverage.
The Determination was made based on the definition of “covered process” comprising of two sentences:
“Process means any activity involving a highly hazardous chemical including any use, storage, manufacturing, handling, or the on-site movement of such chemicals, or combination of these activities. For purpose of this definition, any group of vessels that are interconnected and separate vessels which are located such that a highly hazardous chemical could be involved in a potential release shall be considered a single process.”
The court decision focused on the second sentence of this definition ruling that the modifier “such that a highly hazardous chemical could be involved in a potential release shall be considered a single process” does not apply to “any group of vessels that are interconnected” but only to “separate vessels which are located”.