Ever heard anyone say “PSM and RMP are identical except for the off-site consequence requirements”? There are a lot of similarities between the two chemical safety regulations, but the two are very much different in more ways than just the “off-site consequence requirements”. Most of the similarities are between RMP “Program 3 Prevention Program” and OSHA’s PSM requirement; however, there are actually substantive differences even between these requirements.
First, OSHA requires no reporting of a facility’s Process Safety Management (PSM) program, but EPA does require a facility to submit their Risk Management Plan (on-line using “e-Submit” software). The other major difference is the EPA’s “off-site consequence analysis” (OCA) required for each “covered process” in order to determine the facility’s “Worst Case Release Scenario” and their “Alternative Release Scenario”. But the obvious differences stop there and unfortunately there are several other significant requirements that can cause some serious compliance issues for facilities that must comply with the RMP rule.
1) Chemicals and their Thresholds are different!
The VERY FIRST step to determine if your process is covered by either standard is to determine the quantity in the process and compare that to the Threshold prescribed by the standard to determine if the process is covered by one or both of the standards. In some cases, the process may be covered by RMP and not OSHA and vice versa. For instance a facility that uses one-ton chlorine cylinders WOULD BE COVERED by OSHA’s PSM, but would NOT be covered by EPA’s RMP rule. This is because OSHA’s threshold for chlorine is 1,500 pounds and EPA’s threshold is 2,500 pounds. The other HUGE difference in the “threshold determination” is that OSHA lumped ALL FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS (FP<100°F) together and set their threshold at 10,000 pounds. EPA treats flammable liquids MUCH differently in that the SPECIFIC FLAMMABLE LIQUID MUST be listed by CAS number to be considered to be an “Extremely Hazardous Substance” (EHS). Here is a listing of the different chemicals and their thresholds between the two regulations:
* Flammable chemicals with an asterisk are not specifically listed in 1910.119 appendix A, but do meet the criteria in 1910.1200 (c) to be regulated under 1910.119 as a flammable chemical with a threshold quantity of 10,000 lbs. Those criteria state that a flammable gas must have a Lower Explosive (flammability) Limit (LEL)of 13% or less at ambient temperature and pressure and a flammable liquid must have a flashpoint less than 100 degrees F to covered by 1910.119. If you have one of these flammable chemicals with an asterisk by it that does not meet these specifications to be regulated under the OSHA PSM standard, then DEQ may request that you provide a valid Material Safety Data Sheet for that chemical listing the LEL or Flashpoint. The National Fire Protection Association Guide to Hazardous Materials, Code 325, sections 1-3.3 and 1-3.5 lists the definitions for Flashpoint and LEL.
2) “Management System”
EPA’s RMP (68.15) requires the facility to have a WRITTEN MANAGEMENT SYSTEM to oversee the implementation of the RMP. OSHA’s PSM does not require this written management system! EPA’s RMP states the following:
(a)The owner or operator of a stationary source with processes subject to Program 2 or Program 3 shall develop a management system to oversee the implementation of the risk management program elements.
(b) The owner or operator shall assign a qualified person or position that has the overall responsibility for the development, implementation, and integration of the risk management program elements.
(c) When responsibility for implementing individual requirements of this part is assigned to persons other than the person identified under paragraph (b) of this section, the names or positions of these people shall be documented and the lines of authority defined through an organization chart or similar document.
What is a management system? How comprehensive must it be? Is there a standard format?
The management system required under Subpart A of 40 CFR Part 68 is essentially a system defined by facility managers for integrating the implementation of the risk management program elements and assigning responsibility for that implementation (58 FR 54196; October 20, 1993). The extent of the management system will depend on the size and complexity of the source. At many small sources, the appointment of a person or position that has the overall responsibility for the development, implementation, and integration of the risk management program elements, as required under 40 CFR §68.15(b), may satisfy the management system requirement. For larger sources, separate divisions may be responsible for overseeing different elements of the risk management program. The management system should document the integration of your operations. For example, if process equipment is changed, process safety information must also be changed, training may need to be revised, and both operators and maintenance staff must be informed. Some basic questions you should ask yourself are:
The management system is a way to ensure that each department involved in the process understands its responsibilities and who should be contacted when changes or other concerns arise. There is no standard format for the management system. It should be designed to ensure that each person knows what his/her responsibilities are and the lines of authority. This system can be documented by an organization chart, but other methods can be used as well. The rule provides you with the flexibility to design and manage your management system in whatever way works best for you. You are not required to submit the management system to EPA. EPA has developed general guidance on RMP implementation that discusses management systems in further detail (see Chapter 5 of the General Guidance On Risk Management Programs For Chemical Accident Prevention (40 CFR Part 68)). In addition, you may want to consider guidance produced by private parties, such as the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) who has a Process Safety Documentation guidebook for sale that might be helpful if your management system is complex. (To order: call 1-800-AICHEME).
3) Program Levels… RMP has them – PSM does not!
Once a facility has determined that it has a process subject to EPA’s RMP rule, it will need to identify what actions it must take to comply. The RMP rule defines three (3) “Program Levels” based on processes’ relative potential for public impacts and the level of effort needed to prevent accidents. A key point to mention here is that “OSHA is all about inside the fence line and EPA is all about beyond the fence line”. For each Program Level, the rule defines requirements that reflect the level of risk and effort associated with the processes at that level. The Program Levels are as follows:
Program 1: Processes which would not have any off-site impacts in the case of the worst-case release (in the language of Part 68, processes “with no public receptors within the distance to an endpoint from a worst-case release”) and with no accidents with specific offsite consequences within the past five years are eligible for Program 1, which imposes limited hazard assessment requirements and minimal prevention and emergency response requirements.
Program 2: Processes not eligible for Program 1 or subject to Program 3 are placed in Program 2, which imposes streamlined prevention program requirements, as well as additional hazard assessment, management, and emergency response requirements.
Program 3: Processes not eligible for Program 1 and either subject to OSHA's PSM standard under federal or state OSHA programs or classified in one of ten specified North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes are placed in Program 3, which imposes OSHA’s PSM standard as the prevention program as well as additional hazard assessment, management, and emergency response requirements.
4) Process Hazards Analysis
68.67 states… Process hazards analyses completed to comply with 29 CFR 1910.119(e) are acceptable as initial process hazards analyses.
It is the term “initial” that we need to be clear with. EPA explains that if your Program 3 process is also subject to OSHA PSM, you can use the PHA conducted for OSHA PSM compliance as your initial process hazard analysis for EPA purposes, provided you conducted your initial OSHA PHA prior to May 26, 1997... (date by which all initial OSHA PHAs must have been completed). In such cases, you can also update and revalidate your PHA on OSHA's schedule, but your update MUST consider offsite impacts. Any initial PHA performed after May 26, 1997 MUST consider offsite impacts in order for it to satisfy EPA's requirements.
5) Emergency Response – RMP has many more SPECIFIC requirements and language
EPA’s RMP (68.95) requires facility’s to develop and implement an emergency response program for the purpose of protecting public health and the environment, where as OSHA is ALL ABOUT PROTECTING the workers and responders. EPA requires the facility’s Emergency Response Plan (ERP) to include the following elements:
The emergency response plan MUST be coordinated with the community emergency response plan developed under 42 U.S.C. 11003. Upon request of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) or emergency response officials, the facility shall promptly provide to the local emergency response officials information necessary for developing and implementing the community emergency response plan.
OSHA’s PSM Emergency planning and response element is very brief and only refers facilities to implement an emergency action plan (EAP) for the entire plant in accordance with the provisions of 29 CFR 1910.38 and for those facilities that have a response team to comply with 1910.120(q). In addition, the emergency action plan must include procedures for handling small releases. Now if the facility does have an emergency response team then the REQUIRED Emergency Response Plan (ERP) must address coordination with outside emergency response organizations, but EPA’s RMP requirements are much more specific and detailed.
6) Three year and five year activities and updates
Both OSHA’s PSM and EPA’s RMP require certain activities to occur every three and five years. Both require an audit every three years and both require the process hazards analysis to be revalidated every five years. REMEMBER, when you do your PHA revalidation IT MUST CONSIDER OFF-SITE impacts in order for EPA to accept it as your RMP PHA.
But EPA also requires the RMP submittal to be updated at least every five years. There are also several triggers that require the RMP submittal to be updated that OSHA’s PSM does not have. And let’s be clear, EPA has issued some serious monetary fines for failing to update an RMP at the prescribed time. These update requirements are:
So let’s summarize the differences:
Many of you will need to do little that is new to comply with the Program 3 prevention program, because you already have the OSHA PSM program in place. Whether you're building on the PSM standard or creating a new program, keep these things in mind. g EPA and OSHA have different legal authority — EPA for offsite consequences, OSHA for on-site consequences.
If you are already complying with the PSM standard, your process hazard analysis (PHA) team may have to assess new hazards that could affect the public or the environment offsite. Protection measures that are suitable for workers (e.g., venting releases to the outdoors) may be the very kind of thing that imperils the public.