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How is PSM affecting the chemical industry?

Andrew Porter,

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) developed the process safety management, or PSM standard to prevent disastrous process release incidents in the manufacturing industry. 

The PSM standard begins with a list of 137 chemicals deemed highly hazardous, toxic, or reactive. If a site has more than a threshold quantity of any of those materials, it is covered by PSM regulations. The standard was recently updated following an explosion at a West, Texas fertilizer plant in 2013. The proposed changes expanded the scope of the PSM standard to cover a wider range of chemical processes and added additional management and documentation requirements.

In addition, many members of the American Chemistry Council have committed to adopting PSM-type documentation for other materials or processes not specifically covered by PSM regulations as part of their Responsible Care program, under which global chemical manufacturers commit to pursue an ethic of safe chemicals management.

The PSM changes, along with the effect of the Responsible Care program, are having a substantial effect on the chemical industry, altering the practices used to prevent process release incidents.

It is important for organizations covered by PSM regulations to implement the most current standard, since it is not only an OSHA requirement, but also essential to keeping their employees and communities safe. 

How can PENTA, an OBG Company, help?

Navigating the PSM requirements can be a daunting task. Experts at PENTA, an OBG Company (PENTA), are familiar with the requirements and experienced in the implementation of PSM. The team can provide assistance necessary to develop a compliance program, ranging from making suggestions and coordinating the effort to developing the documentation. Specifically, PENTA offers the following services:

  • Developing an overall compliance plan
  • Compiling and developing process safety information
  • Conducting and documenting process hazards analyses (PHA)
  • Documenting operating procedures that comply with PSM
  • Developing and implementing operator training
  • Developing compliance requirements for contractors
  • Participating in, and documenting, pre-startup safety reviews
  • Developing and implementing mechanical integrity programs
  • Developing hot work permit systems
  • Developing and implementing a management of change system for process changes
  • Conducting incident investigations
  • Developing emergency planning and response plans for potential accidents, releases, or both
  • Providing third-party compliance audits of compliance programs and recommending improvements

About Andrew Porter, PE: Andrew Porter manages the process group at PENTA, an OBG Company. He has eight years of experience in the chemical processing industry working with a wide range of clients. During his time at PENTA, he has helped develop solutions for clients with PSM processes, as well as provided assistance with OSHA regulation compliance.

Andrew G. Porter, PE
(704) 583-5148