Before OSHA Comes Knocking

The OSHA Process Safety Management National Emphasis Program will soon apply to the chemical industry, targeting compliance with safety standards associated with chemical hazards. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) process safety management (PSM) standard sets requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes that use highly hazardous chemicals (HHC) - e.g., chemicals that are toxic, reactive, flammable or explosive. 

As part of its overall enforcement activities, OSHA routinely uses national emphasis programs (NEPs) to target establishments or industries that have known or suspected hazardous conditions, such as exposure to lead or silica, the potential for amputations or trench cave-ins, or the presence of combustible dust. In response to recommendations by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), in June 2007 OSHA launched a PSM NEP aimed at reducing or eliminating workplace hazards associated with the catastrophic release of HHCs at petroleum refineries.

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