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PT Notes

Amendments to EPA's RMP Rule - Treatment of Declined Recommendations

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.

EPA has proposed several amendments relating to hazard evaluation for Program 2 and 3 RMP-regulated processes. This PT Note addresses:

  • Requiring owners or operators to report any declined recommendations arising from natural hazard, power loss, and siting hazard evaluations that are declined, along with the owner or operator's justification for declining them, within the risk management plan submitted to EPA.

Further details are provided below.

EPA believes that ensuring communities, local planners, local first responders, and the public have appropriate chemical facility hazard-related information is critical to the health and safety of responders and the local community. EPA is proposing ways to enhance information sharing and collaboration between chemical facility owners / operators, Tribal and local emergency planning committees (TEPCs / LEPCs), first responders, and the public in a manner that EPA believes balances security and proprietary considerations.

EPA is proposing that recommendations arising from natural hazard, power loss, and siting hazard evaluations that are declined be included in a facility's risk management plan together with justifications for declining them. EPA believes this will enable the public to ensure facilities have conducted appropriate evaluations to address potential hazards that can affect communities near the fenceline of facilities. EPA believes that when local citizens have adequate information and knowledge about facility hazards, facility owners and operators may be motivated to further improve their safety in response to community pressure and oversight.

Regarding the requirement to provide justification for not implementing recommendations, EPA is proposing to allow facilities to choose from pre-selected categories for not implementing recommendations. Under OSHA guidance, an employer may decline to adopt a PHA recommendation if, based upon adequate evidence, the employer can document that one or more of the following conditions is true:

  • The analysis upon which the recommendation is based contains material factual errors.
  • The recommendation is not necessary to protect the health and safety of the employer's own employees of contractors.
  • An alternative measure would provide a sufficient level of protection.
  • The recommendation is infeasible.

EPA is proposing to adopt these same categories in the risk management plan as justification for declined recommendations, with a modification to account for public receptors (i.e., the recommendation is not necessary to protect public receptors).

EPA is soliciting comments on the proposed amendments and has posed questions regarding them.

If you would like further information, please click here.

To comment on this PT Note, click here.

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