EPA Proposes Changes to Risk Management Program Rule to Improve Chemical Safety

Published March 2, 2016

Newly proposed changes to EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP) regulations are intended to improve chemical process safety at RMP facilities and modernize the agency’s chemical safety and security regulations, guidance, and policies. The proposed revisions would affect EPA’s accident prevention program requirements, and would enhance emergency planning and preparedness requirements; increase the availability of chemical information to help the public understand the risks at RMP facilities; and require third-party audits and root-cause analysis to identify process safety improvements for accident prevention. EPA also proposes to require the assessment of inherently safer technologies and designs during process hazard assessment.

These proposed revisions are an “action item” under an executive order issued in August 2013 to improve chemical facility safety and security, and would specifically affect EPA’s Accidental Release Prevention Requirements of RMP under section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act.

In July 2014, EPA issued a request for information (RFI) seeking data and information on specific regulatory elements and process safety management approaches to improve public health and safety and to aid police, fire, and emergency response personnel in preparing for and responding to chemical emergencies. The RFI also addressed potentially updating the list of RMP-regulated substances and adjusting threshold quantities and toxic endpoints based on acute exposure guideline level (AEGL) toxicity values. In November, the agency held a Small Business Advocacy Review panel on modernizing the RMP rule.

The new proposed rule has yet to be published in the Federal Register, but EPA has made a pre-publication copy of the proposed amendments available on the agency’s website. After its publication, the public will have 60 days to submit written comments to EPA.

For more information, see EPA’s press release.