In a letter to the House Appropriations Committee, 41 representatives urged the inclusion of language in the 2017 appropriations bill to prevent the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from implementing its July 22, 2015 memorandum ending the retail exemption to Process Safety Management.
"We are concerned that these changes will place a significant time and cost burden on America's agricultural retailers without providing them and other impacted stakeholders with an adequate opportunity to provide the agency with input prior to the policy change," the letter states. "Because OSHA has chosen to ignore Congressional intent in H.R. 2029, it is important that language directing OSHA to promulgate a formal rulemaking be included in the legislative text of the FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. Read the letter...
Blunt Critical of OSHA PSM Change
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) criticized Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez for ignoring Congressional intent during a hearing March 17. Watch the video.
Sen. Blunt questioned Sec. Perez about the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's removal of the retail exemption to Process Safety Management and the agency's intention to enforce the change in the next fiscal year.
Report language included in the 2016 appropriations bill instructed OSHA to conduct formal notice-and-comment rulemaking before enforcing PSM regulations on farm supply retailers. However, OSHA has indicated it will begin enforcement October 1. Sec. Perez says this action complies with the letter of the appropriations bill.
The Agricultural Retailers Association and The Fertilizer Institute have filed suit against OSHA to block the guidance change. Legislative efforts (see above) to thwart the measure are also underway.