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This page contains previous items from our Latest News feature.

OSHA Notice of Informal Hearing on the Hazard Communication Standard

Publish Date: 2021-06-02
Category: Industry News

On May 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a notice of informal hearing on the agency's Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). The hearing will be held beginning September 21, 2021 at 10 a.m. EDT, and will be held virtually.

OSHA expects the HCS update will increase worker protections and reduce the incidence of chemical-related occupational illnesses and injuries by further improving the information on the labels and Safety Data Sheets for hazardous chemicals. Proposed modifications will also address issues since implementation of the 2012 standard, and improve alignment with other federal agencies and Canada.

Further details are available on OSHA’s website.

EPA Announces Public Listening Sessions on the Risk Management Plan Rule

Publish Date: 2021-06-01
Category: Industry News

On May 26, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced two upcoming virtual public listening sessions on the Agency’s Risk Management Plan (RMP) rule. The listening sessions are intended to give interested people the opportunity to present information, and provide comments or views pertaining to revisions made to the RMP rule since 2017.

EPA stated that the listening sessions are a first step in considering improvements to the RMP rule, so EPA can better address the impacts of climate change on facility safety and protect communities from chemical accidents, especially vulnerable and overburdened communities living near RMP facilities.

Virtual public listening sessions will be held on:

  • June 16, 2021, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. EST
  • July 8, 2021, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. EST

To foster continued coordination between the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and EPA, OSHA will also participate in the listening sessions and receive comments on their Process Safety Management (PSM) standard, which contains similar requirements to the RMP rule.

Further details are available on EPA’s website.

CSB Releases Final Report into 2019 H2S Release at the Aghorn Operating Waterflood Station in Odessa, Texas

Publish Date: 2021-05-24
Category: Industry News

On May 21, 2021 the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its final report on the October 26, 2019, hydrogen sulfide release at the Aghorn Operating waterflood station in Odessa, Texas.

The report identified these contributing causes to the release:

  • Non-use of personal H2S detector
  • Non-performance of lockout / tagout
  • Confinement of H2S inside pump house
  • Lack of safety management program
  • Non-functioning H2S detection and alarm system
  • Deficient site security

The report can be accessed on CSB’s website.

CSB Deploys to Fatal Incident in Ohio

Publish Date: 2021-04-09
Category: Industry News

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is deploying to Columbus, Ohio, to investigate a fatal explosion that occurred at the Yenkin-Majestic Paints and OPC Polymers manufacturing site. Initial reports state that around midnight on Thursday April, 8th an explosion and two-alarm fire erupted, killing one employee and eight more injured people were transported to local hospitals.

CSB Closes Three Recommendations to CGA

Publish Date: 2021-04-08
Category: Industry News

At a public meeting on April 2, 2021, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) closed three recommendations resulting from the agency's investigation into the 2016 nitrous oxide explosion at the Airgas manufacturing facility in Cantonment, Florida. The blast killed an Airgas employee working at the facility and heavily damaged the plant, halting its manufacturing of nitrous oxide indefinitely. The following recommendations were issued to the Compressed Gas Association (CGA):

Recommendation: Develop and implement a safety management system standard for nitrous oxide manufacturing to manage known process safety hazards, including nitrous oxide decomposition.

Resolution: CGA published Guideline for Process Safety Management (CGA P-86) that addresses not only the hazards associated with nitrous oxide but also the hazards for all processes within the industrial and medical gases industries. CSB changed the status of the recommendation to “Closed – Exceeds Recommended Action.”

Recommendation: Modify CGA standard, Safe Practices for Storage and Handling of Nitrous Oxide (G-8.3) , to require testing of safety for applications where a safety device is used to quench a nitrous oxide decomposition reaction.

Resolution: CGA published the third edition of CGA G-8.3, Safe Practices for Storage and Handling of Nitrous Oxide (CGA G8.3) , with changes directed at preventing the hazard. CSB changed the status of the recommendation to “Closed - Acceptable Alternative Action.”

Recommendation: Modify CGA standard CGA, Safe Practices for Storage and Handling of Nitrous Oxide (G-8.3) , to reference and require applying International Society of Automation (ISA) standard, Functional Safety: Safety Instrumented Systems for the Process Industry Sector (ISA-84) , to safety interlocks, such as the nitrous oxide pump “run-dry” shutdown.

Resolution: CGA G-8.3 now clarifies that the requirements for dry running protection are considered critical for safety, and references ISA -84 and requires its application in evaluating safety interlocks, such as dry running protection for pumps in the nitrous oxide industry. CSB changed the status of the recommendation to “Closed - Acceptable Action.”

Primatech is pleased to offer comprehensive PHA data analytics in PHAWorks RA Edition.

Publish Date: 2021-04-01
Category: Primatech News

Primatech’s PHA tool is the only PHA software available that incorporates data analytics.

PHA studies produce recommendations for risk reduction but they contain a wealth of other information that typically is overlooked. PHA data analytics are used to extract valuable knowledge from PHA worksheets. They have many uses to improve process operability, reliability, utilization, safety, and loss prevention. Every person in a process facility can use or benefit from using PHA data analytics to accomplish their work, including designers, engineers, managers, operators, mechanics, PHA facilitators, process safety personnel, trainers, emergency responders, and others. Uses of PHA data analytics include:

  • Comparing  risk profiles of different processes, units, and operating regimes to guide the allocation of risk reduction resources
  • Identifying safety critical equipment for use in prioritizing maintenance for process equipment and safeguards
  • Supporting risk-based inspection programs for assuring asset integrity
  • Facilitating the management of safety instrumented systems, relief devices, alarms, and other safety systems
  • Identifying safety critical actions to highlight in the development and review of procedures
  • Developing initial and refresher training programs for front-line workers such as operators, mechanics, and contractors
  • Establishing competency requirements for facility personnel
  • Performing hierarchy of controls analysis for safeguards
  • Supporting safeguard bypass analysis using criticality ranking
  • Enabling the development and execution of an implementation plan for PHA recommendations
  • Identifying omissions and deficiencies in PHA studies, e.g. missing scenarios or inadequate safeguards
  • Comparing process risk profiles before and after a change to facilitate the management of change
  • Developing risk-based emergency response plans
  • Understanding causal factors in incident investigation
  • Auditing process safety programs
  • Supporting turnaround planning by displaying changes in the process risk profile to identify actions needed to manage the modified risks
  • Supporting the communication of risks to stakeholders
  • Providing a sound basis for communicating priorities for safety improvements to stakeholders
  • Sharing process safety insights and knowledge across facilities
  • Benchmarking PHA against other companies to facilitate the adoption of best practices

PHA studies require the investment of considerable resources. Consequently, the information they contain should be leveraged  for as many beneficial purposes as possible.

EPA RMP - Public Meeting Required After Incidents with Off-Site Consequences

Publish Date: 2021-03-17
Category: Industry News

Effective March 15, 2021, facilities covered by EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP) are required to hold a public meeting within 90 days of any incident that results in off-site impacts. These impacts include deaths, injuries, evacuations, sheltering in place, property damage, or environmental damage. Covered facilities include oil refineries, chemical plants, paper mills, food processing operations, and water and sewerage treatment plants.

The requirement is part of the Risk Management Program (RMP) revised rule issued by EPA in 2017. Most of the rule was withdrawn in 2019 but much of the public meeting requirement was retained.

Six Fatalities at Plant in Georgia

Publish Date: 2021-01-29
Category: Industry News

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has deployed a team to the Prime Pak Foods facility in Gainesville, Georgia to investigate a release of liquid nitrogen that reportedly led to six fatalities and  nine injuries requiring hospitalization.

CSB Deploys to Optima Chemical LLC Incident

Publish Date: 2020-12-14
Category: Industry News

The CSB has deployed an incident investigation team to the Optima Chemical LLC facility in Belle, WV. A shelter-in-place was ordered within a 2-mile radius of the facility after the incident occurred on Tuesday, December 8th. The CSB has initially reported a pressure vessel over-pressured, causing a fire which resulted in one fatality and at least two injuries. Debris from the incident was found up to a mile away.

Primatech's Dr. Paul Baybutt authors paper, On the Need for System-Theoretic Hazard Analysis in the Process Industries

Publish Date: 2020-12-01
Category: Primatech News

The paper will appear in the Journal of Loss Prevention in the Process Industries, Volume 69, January 2021.

The article can be accessed for free on Science Direct until January 15, 2021 by clicking here. No sign up or registration is needed.


Most process hazard analysis (PHA) studies today are conducted using traditional methods such as the hazard and operability study (HAZOP). Traditional methods are based on a chain-of-events model of accident causality. Current models of accident causality are based on systems theory and provide a more complete representation of the causal factors involved in accidents. Consequently, it is logical to expect that PHA methods should reflect these models, that is, system-theoretic hazard analysis (STHA) should be used. Indeed, system-theoretic process analysis (STPA) has been developed as such a method. STPA has been used in a variety of industries but, at this time, it has not gained acceptance by the process industries. This article explores the reasons for this situation. Expectations for PHA in the process industries are examined and issues for the application of STPA in the process industries are discussed. It is concluded that a variety of matters must be addressed before STPA can be considered as a viable PHA method for the process industries and the case for the use of STHA in the process industries is not yet proven.