OSHA Releases PSM Guidance for Small Businesses and Storage Facilities

Published April 5, 2017

OSHA recently released three new guidance documents intended to help employers comply with the agency’s process safety management (PSM) standard. The documents, which are products of an executive order issued in August 2013 to improve chemical facility safety and security, were developed by a federal working group that includes OSHA and five other departments and agencies.

The first document, Process Safety Management for Small Businesses (PDF), focuses on elements of the PSM standard that OSHA deems most relevant to hazards associated with small businesses. The guidance, which does not cover the entire standard, emphasizes process safety information, process hazard analysis, training, mechanical integrity, and compliance audits.

A second document focuses on PSM for storage facilities covered by the standard (PDF). Like the document for small businesses, the guidance for storage facilities does not cover the entire PSM standard. It highlights parts of the standard that are most relevant to storage facilities, including employee participation, process safety information, process hazard analysis, operating procedures, training, mechanical integrity, and emergency planning and response.

Process Safety Management for Explosives and Pyrotechnics Manufacturing (PDF), the third guidance document, focuses on aspects of the PSM standard that are particularly relevant to those manufacturers: process safety information, process hazard analysis, operating procedures, training, and mechanical integrity.

“PSM is critically important to facilities that store highly hazardous chemicals,” OSHA stated in a recent issue of QuickTakes. “Implementing the required safety programs helps prevent fires, explosions, large chemical spills, toxic gas releases, runaway chemical reactions, and other major incidents.”

For more information, see OSHA’s safety and health topic page on PSM.

Related: A feature article in the June/July 2016 Synergist, “Modernizing Process Safety,” discusses how new process safety management and risk management program regulations from OSHA and EPA will provide more opportunities for industrial hygienists to participate in process safety.