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PT Notes

Risk Management Plan Streamlining, Clarifications, and RMP Rule Technical Corrections Plus Compliance Dates

PT Notes is a series of topical technical notes on process safety provided periodically by Primatech for your benefit. Please feel free to provide feedback.

This PT Note describes proposed amendments to EPA's Risk Management Program regulation relating to risk management plan streamlining, clarifications, RMP rule technical corrections, and proposed compliance dates.

Subpart G of the RMP rule requires that a Risk Management Plan be submitted to EPA by stationary sources to indicate compliance with the regulations and to provide information regarding the hazard assessment, prevention program, and emergency response program. The Risk Management Plan also includes stationary source registration information, such as name, location and contact information.

Based on feedback received from the regulated community and EPA's own experience, EPA is proposing to revise several data elements in subpart G and to make technical corrections to the RMP rule.

EPA also has proposed timeframes for stationary sources to comply with the amendments.

Details are provided below.

Deletions From Subpart G

EPA is proposing to delete data elements that do not effectively assist the Agency in evaluating compliance with the RMP rule. EPA also is proposing to delete some data elements because the information can be obtained through improved coordination with Federal, state, and local agencies resulting from Executive Order 13650, such as information currently required by §§ 68.160(b)(13) (the date of the last safety inspection of the stationary source by a Federal, state, or local government agency) and 68.160(b)(19) (OSHA Voluntary Protection Program status).

EPA is proposing to delete other data elements because the Agency believes an on-site inspection or formal information request are better ways to evaluate compliance with these RMP requirements (for example, some data elements pertaining to training, contractor safety, and maintenance/mechanical integrity). By removing several Risk Management Plan data elements, EPA expects that the regulated community will find it easier to comply with subpart G requirements. In addition to burden relief for the regulated community, EPA expects that removing several Risk Management Plan data elements will reduce the number of errors in Risk Management Plans submitted to the Agency.

Revisions to Subpart G

EPA is proposing to revise existing provisions in subpart G as follows:

  • Modernize requirements to include electronic contact information if it exists, such as email addresses and website homepages.
  • Revise provisions to remove a portion of select data elements that would be better evaluated during an on-site inspection or information request.
  • Provide consistency with RMP*eSubmit.
  • Provide more consistency in the data collected for similar data elements in the Program 2 and Program 3 prevention programs, and
  • Replace data elements that were not effective in demonstrating a stationary source's compliance with the rule, with ones that will demonstrate compliance.

Additions to Subpart G

In addition to removing and revising several Risk Management Plan data elements, EPA is proposing to add several Risk Management Plan data elements in subpart G based on the proposed rule requirements discussed in this document. This includes new data elements to address compliance with:

  • Third-party audit requirements.
  • Root cause analysis requirements as part of incident investigations.
  • IST analysis requirements in PHA.
  • Emergency response preparedness requirements including information on local coordination and emergency response exercises, and
  • Information sharing provisions.

By adding these data elements to the Risk Management Plan requirements in subpart G, EPA will be able to evaluate a stationary source's compliance with these proposed rule requirements once they are finalized.

Proposed Amendments and Technical Corrections

EPA is proposing a number of revisions to language used in the RMP rule. They are identified in the Federal Register.

Also, EPA is proposing a number of technical corrections to the RMP rule. These corrections include the following items.

EPA is proposing to clarify that the training requirements in §§ 68.54 and 68.71 (for Program 2 and Program 3 facilities, respectively) apply to supervisors who are involved in operating a covered process by adding paragraph (e) to indicate that the term employee includes supervisors.

Similarly, the EPA realizes that there may be other employee types involved in operating a covered process besides operators. For example, process engineers and maintenance technicians may occasionally be involved in process operations. The degree of involvement for these other employee types may vary greatly. Therefore, EPA is proposing to revise § 68.54 to clarify that the requirement applies to employees involved in operating a process. For employees other than operators and supervisors, EPA expects that initial and refresher training will be appropriate to the employee's responsibilities in operating the process.

EPA is proposing to revise § 68.65(a) to add the phrase, “and shall keep PSI up-to-date”. EPA has always intended that PSI be kept up-to-date for Program 3 facilities. Updated PSI is necessary to properly update or revalidate the PHA every 5 years as required by § 68.67(f).

Compliance Dates

In modifications to § 68.10, EPA is proposing to:

  • Require compliance with emergency response coordination activities within one year of an effective date of a final rule.
  • Provide up to three years for the owner or operator of a non-responding stationary source to develop an emergency response program in accordance with § 68.95 following an LEPC or equivalent's written request to do so.
  • Comply with new provisions, unless otherwise stated, four years after the effective date of the final rule, and
  • Provide regulated sources one additional year (i.e. five years after the effective date of the final rule) to correct or resubmit risk management plans to reflect new and revised data elements.

EPA is proposing to provide additional time (four years after the effective date of the rule) for compliance with the third-party compliance audits, root cause analyses as part of incident investigations, safer technology and alternatives analysis (STAA), emergency response exercises, and the information availability provisions. EPA is proposing to provide this additional time for several reasons.

First, EPA believes that for most sources, the incident investigation root cause analysis and emergency response exercise requirements will involve training and program development activities that may reasonably require significant time to complete.

Second, the extended compliance timeframe will allow potential auditors enough time to meet the competency and independence criteria necessary to serve as a third-party auditor.

Third, for sources subject to the STAA provisions, EPA believes that in many cases these sources will prefer to perform a full PHA update when implementing the STAA requirements. Sources subject to this provision are among the largest and most complex sources regulated under the RMP rule, and therefore PHAs and PHA updates at these sources typically require a significant level of effort. Since PHA updates are normally done at five year intervals, EPA believes it would be appropriate to allow most sources to adopt these provisions in their normal PHA update cycle if they so choose. Sources that performed their most recent PHA update immediately prior to the rule publication date would have up to four years to perform their next PHA update and adopt the STAA provisions. Most sources could schedule their PHA updates to incorporate the new STAA provisions on their normal PHA update schedule.

Fourth, EPA intends to publish guidance for certain provisions, such as STAA, root cause analysis, and emergency response exercises. Once these materials are complete, owners and operators will need time to familiarize themselves with the new materials and incorporate them into their risk management programs.

Further details can be found at:

https://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OEM-2015-0725-0001

Comments on the proposed amendments must be submitted on or before May 13, 2016. Comments should be identified by docket EPA-HQ-OEM-2015-0725 and submitted through to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.

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