August 4, 2022

CSB Launches Training Application on Process Safety Management

A new training application published by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) focuses on OSHA’s process safety management (PSM) standard, which covers requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes that use highly hazardous chemicals. The application incorporates CSB findings from the 2005 explosion and fire at the BP America Refinery in Texas City, Texas, and shows how the agency’s findings relate to the PSM standard. According to CSB, the application includes interactive training modules on the 14 elements of PSM—which include process hazard analysis, incident investigation, and emergency planning and response, to name a few—using the 2005 incident as a model. The training application is freely available for download from CSB’s website and is compatible with computers running Windows or macOS.

The 2005 massive hydrocarbon release and resulting explosion at BP Texas City killed 15 people and injured 180 others. The incident is the most serious refinery accident investigated by CSB, which uncovered a lack of understanding and safety commitment by corporate management, and organizational and safety flaws at all levels of the BP Corporation. The agency’s investigation resulted in new standards of care for corporate management, which called for the same level of scrutiny to be applied to PSM as financial management.

Modernizing U.S. PSM regulations is one of CSB’s “drivers of critical chemical safety change,” which are key initiatives identified by CSB. These “drivers” were previously known as CSB’s “most wanted safety improvements”—a list of changes that, in the agency’s view, are most likely to achieve significant improvements in safety across the U.S. if implemented. CSB has made several recommendations related to improving OSHA’s PSM program, including providing stop-work authority to employees; updating process hazard analysis requirements to include the documented use of inherently safer systems, the hierarchy of controls, and safeguards that are “sufficient and adequate”; and including the oil and gas sector and reactive chemicals in the rule’s coverage. OSHA’s most recent action related to PSM rulemaking was to initiate a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel to obtain feedback on potential revisions to its PSM standard. The panel’s report was published in 2016.

For more information, see CSB’s news update.