OSHA Extends Comment Deadline for Chemical Safety Standards

Published March 12, 2014

​OSHA has given stakeholders an additional 21 days, until March 31, to submit comments on its request for information (RFI) on potential revisions to its Process Safety Management (PSM) standard, related standards, and other policy options to prevent major chemical incidents.

In addition to input on its PSM standard, OSHA requests public comment on potential revisions to its Explosives and Blasting Agents standard, potential updates to its Flammable Liquids standard and Spray Finishing standard, and potential changes to PSM enforcement policies.

OSHA’s RFI is in response to an executive order issued in August to improve chemical facility safety and security following the April 2013 ammonium nitrate explosion at the West Fertilizer plant in Texas.

OSHA announced the comment deadline extension the day before a Senate committee hearing on preventing potential chemical threats and oversight of the executive order.

During the March 6 hearing, U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso highlighted how the use of inherently safer technology—a concept that focuses on eliminating or minimizing hazards rather than attempting to control existing hazards—could be used to prevent many accidents, such as the Jan. 9 chemical spill at Freedom Industries in West Virginia.

“I am encouraged by the leadership of the White House on these issues—especially the executive order on chemical safety—and I hope that regulatory agencies respond in kind,” Moure-Eraso told committee members.

“The best companies in the U.S. and overseas know how to prevent these disasters, but we need a regulatory system here that ensures all companies are operating to the same high standards,” he said.