Agencies offer options in fertilizer explosion response

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The Chemical Facility Safety and Security Work Group, formed by several federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Homeland Security to respond to the West Fertilizer explosion, recently released a bevy of potential regulatory and policy options.

The work group is now seeking feedback on possible reforms. Many of the options presented directly impact retailers.

  • Options for improving the safe and secure storage, handling, and sale of ammonium nitrate (AN)
  • Options for expanding OSHA's Process Safety Management (PSM) standard and EPA's Risk Management Program (RMP) rule to address additional regulated substances and types of hazards
  • Options for adding chemicals to the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Chemicals of Interest (COI) list
  • Issues about which OSHA is seeking further comment through its request for information (RFI) on potential improvements to PSM and related standards, including a discussion concerning potential revisions to the PSM retail exemption and maximum commercial grade interpretation

A full list of options is available here: https://www.osha.gov/chemicalexecutiveorder/Section_6ai_Options_List.html. Formal comments are due by March 31. The ARA Policy Committee is reviewing the document and preparing comments on behalf of members.

In addition to potentially burdensome new regulations and policy proposed in these options, ARA is equally concerned by the lack of discussion regarding improving inter-agency communication and training for local first responders. ARA continues to monitor the situation.

Additional information on Section 6 of the Executive Order is available at: http://www.osha.gov/chemicalexecutiveorder/index.html


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