Sustained Outrage

OSHA expands chemical plant safety program


Photo via AP by Tom Hindman, Charleston Daily Mail

The U.S. Department of Labor announced today:

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration today issued a new National Emphasis Program* (NEP) for chemical facilities to protect workers from catastrophic releases of highly hazardous chemicals.

he new NEP replaces OSHA’s 2009 pilot Chemical Facility National Emphasis Program which covered several OSHA regions around the country. The program* establishes policies and procedures for inspecting workplaces that are covered by OSHA’s process safety management (PSM) standard. The program’s inspection process includes detailed questions designed to gather facts related to PSM requirements and verification that employers’ written and implemented PSM programs are consistent. The intent of the NEP is to conduct focused inspections at facilities randomly selected from a list of worksites likely to have highly hazardous chemicals in quantities covered by the standard.

This expansion of the program was one of the recommendations made to OSHA by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board in the board’s report on the August 2008 explosion and fire that killed two workers at the Bayer CropScience plant in Institute, W.Va.

OSHA chief David Michaels said:

Far too many workers are injured and killed in preventable incidents at chemical facilities around the country. This program will enable OSHA inspectors to cover chemical facilities nationwide to ensure that all required measures are taken to protect workers.