Changes to EPA RMP (40CFR68)
As a result of perceived poor industry process safety performance over the past decade, and due to recent notable accidents (West, TX and Richmond, CA), the White House issued Executive Order 13650 - Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security on August 1, 2013. The EO set up an OSHA/EPA/DHS Working Group to develop action plans over the next six months to find ways to:
- Improve operational coordination with states, tribes and local partners
- Enhance information collection and sharing
- Modernize regulations, guidance and policies
- Identify best practices in chemical facility safety and security
The RFI regarding modernizing EPA’s RMP Regulation was published this summer, with comments due by October 29, 2014. This RFI is requesting input from all stakeholders on ideas to improve the RMP standard including the following areas:
- Update the list of regulated substances
- Additional risk management program elements
- Define/require evaluation of updates to applicable recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices
- Extend mechanical integrity requirements to cover any safety critical equipment
- Require management of organizational changes
- Require third-party compliance audits
- Effects of OSHA PSM coverage on RMP applicability
- Safer technology and alternatives analysis
- Emergency drills to test and emergency response program
- Automated detection and monitoring of releases of regulated substances
- Additional stationary source location requirements
- Compliance with emergency response requirements in coordination with local responders
- Incident investigation and accident history requirements
- Worst case release scenario quantity requirements for processes involving numerous small vessels stored together
- Public disclosure of information to promote regulatory compliance and improve community understanding of chemical risks
- TQs and OCA endpoints for regulated substances based on AEGLs
- Program 3 NAICS codes based on RMP accident history data
- The "Safety Case" regulatory model
What Could Executive Order 13650 Mean to Industry?
These potential changes could significantly increase the regulatory compliance burden/risk for many chemical, petrochemical, oil and gas, and related industries/facilities for:
- Plant Siting and Buffer Zones
- New Projects
- Existing Plant Upgrades
- Stakeholder Interactions
Following the RFI comment deadline, EPA is likely to take several months to analyze the inputs they get before issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to propose an "improved" RMP standard, which could come by summer 2015.
Be Involved and Prepare
- Monitor now; Get active during any future PSM/RMP rulemaking
- Get involved now; Monitor agency engagement opportunities; Prepare to engage in any future rulemaking
- Begin developing your own positions on what you believe should be done and collect data to support your case
- Determine your views on PSM/RMP changes that are likely and conceive of smart things to do over the next couple of years to be in a better compliance position
How ABS Consulting Can Help
ABS Consulting was involved with several industry groups during the original PSM and RMP rulemakings and has written many industry PSM/RMP compliance and process safety effective practices guidelines. ABS Consulting has been integral in assisting industry and other stakeholders to understand and determine cost-effective compliance solutions, including leading national PSM/RMP rollout workshops and RMP public communication efforts.
ABS Consulting has prepared briefing presentations on the EO and the EPA RMP RFI to address:
- How could the rules change?
- What does it mean to industry?
- What are some ways to engage with the EO Working Group and regulatory agencies to ensure sensible, effective improvements in the regulatory regime?
- What are some things you can do now to lessen the impact and improve process safety?
For more information...
For more information on the EO or the OSHA PSM RFI, or if you would be interested in having ABS Consulting present a briefing to your organization, either face-to-face or via webinar, please contact Steve Arendt, Vice President, North America Process Industries, at (281) 673-2914 or email@example.com.
OR submit a question or request and we'll get back to you...