The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has announced a request for information seeking public comment on potential revisions to its Process Safety Management standard and related standards, as well as other policy options to prevent major chemical incidents.
The RFI is in response to executive order 13650, which seeks to improve chemical facility safety and security, issued in the wake of the April 2013 West, Texas, tragedy that killed 15 in an ammonium nitrate explosion.
As stated in the Federal Register notice, the public will have until March 10, 2014 to submit written comments. Interested parties may submit comments at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments may also be submitted by mail or facsimile.
For more information, please see the news release and visit the Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security Web page.
JJ Keller's Construction Regulatory Update Vol. 18/No.6 June 2010
In April OSHA released their semi-annual regulatory agenda. If you're a construction employer, the following information from the agenda may have an impact on your company.Injury and Illness Prevention Program - Prerule stage
OSHA is developing a rule requiring employers to implement an Injury and Illness Prevention Program. It involves planning, implementing, evaluating, and improving processes and activities that protect employee safety and health. OSHA has substantial data on reductions in injuries and illnesses from employers who have implemented similar effective processes.
The Agency currently has voluntary Safety and Health Program Management Guidelines (54 FR 3904-3916), published in 1989. An injury and illness prevention rule would build on these guidelines as well as lessons fearned from successful approaches and best practices under OSHA's Voluntary Protection Program Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program and similar industry and international initiatives such as American National Standards Institute/American Industrial Hygiene Association Z10 and Occupation Health and Safety Association 18001. Twelve States have similar rules. As a first step, the Agency plans to hold stakeholder meetings to obtain input for an injury and illness prevention rulemaking.
Confined Spaces in Construction - Proposed rule stage
In January 1993, OSHA issued a general industry rule to protect employees who enter confined spaces (20 CFR 1910.146). this standard does not apply to the construction industry because of differences in the nature of the construction worksite. In discussions with the United Steel Workers of America on a settlement agreement for the general industry standard, OSHA agreed to issue a proposed rule to extend confined-space protection to construction workers appropriate to their work environment.
OSHA is due to complet the analysis of comments by October 2010.
Feb 8, 2010 From EHS Today; by Laura Walter
At least five workers are dead and two dozen injured following a Feb. 7th explosion at Kleen Energy Plant in Middletown, Conn. Media reports indicate up to five additional people may still be missing.
Authorities said the blast, which occurred at approximately 11:30am on Feb. 7, most likely was a natural gas explosion. According to authorities and media reports, search and rescue teams are on site working to locate other possible victims. Names of the deceased have not yet been released.
The Office of Middletown Mayor Sebastian N. Giuliano issued a release explaining that multiple contractors were on site at the time of the explosion, which created confusion surrounding exactly how many employees were on site. The mayor’s office also announced that testing was occurring Fe. 7, which meant the plant was not fully on line at the time of the explosion.
Mayor Giuliano assured the public that the incident did not pose a public health threat; that the air quality and public drinking water supplies were not compromised; and that terrorism is not suspected.
The Red Cross set up a family and victim crisi intervention site at City Hall, located at 245 DeKoven Drive, and established a family information hotline number: 10860-347-2577.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying a seven-person team to the site to investigate the incident.
“The CSB’s investigative team will examine the activities that were ongoing at the time of this accident, including any gas purging, as indicated by initial media reports,” said CSB lead investigator Don Holmstrom.
At a public meeting only 3 days before the explosion. CSB issued urgent recommendations that the national fuel gas codes be changed to improve safety when gas pipes are being purged (cleared of air) during maintenance or the installation of new piping. CSB’s urgent recommendations resulted from the ongoing federal investigation into the June 9, 2009, natural gas explosion at the ConAgra Slim Jim production facility in Garner, N.C., which caused four deaths, three critical life-threatening burn injuries and other injuries that sent a total of 67 people to the hospital.
CSB issued a safety bulleting on gas purging in October 2009, because of the occurrence of multiple serious accidents during purging operations. Key safety lessons described in the bulletin included purging gases to a safe location outdoors away from ignition sources, evacuating non-essential workers during purging, using combustible gas monitors to detect any hazardous gas accumulations and effective training for personnel involved in purging.
CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failures as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards and safety management systems.