OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

July 18, 1994

Mr. P. J. Bellomo
Senior Consultant
Arthur D. Little, Inc.
1001 Fannin Street, Suite 2050
Houston, Texas 77002-6778

Dear Mr. Bellomo:

This is in response to your letter dated February 28, which you resubmitted to us on June 15, by telefax. We apparently misplaced the original mailing and apologize for the delay in responding.

In your letter you described your understanding of OSHA's policy for inspections related to the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard as follows:

(1) On an inspection of routine nature (e.g. a Program Quality Verification (PQV)) OSHA will assess a facility versus the requirements of the facility's implementation plan (i.e., tasks due in the plan would be expected to be complete and related PSM requirements addressed);

(2) On an inspection following an incident, OSHA will assess a facility versus all the requirements or the PSM standard.

You then asked the following questions: For routine inspections, has OSHA honored a facility's Process Safety Management (PSM) implementation plan? If this varies on a case-by-case basis, could you please explain the general enforcement philosophy?

On June 28 Mr. Rolland Stroup of our staff attempted to telephone you at your office. You were at a remote location in Alaska and unreachable by telephone. Mr. Stroup advised Michelle at your office that the PQV inspection is not considered a routine inspection and emphasized that such inspections were intended to be in-depth comprehensive inspections of all elements of an establishment's process safety management program, including document review, site observations, employee interviews and a complete audit of at least one covered process to determine if the company's program is implemented in practice. Mr. Stroup

sent her copy of OSHA Instruction CPL 2-2.45A, entitled 29 CFR 1910.119, Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals--Compliance Guidelines and Enforcement Procedures (additional copy enclosed), and directed her to Paragraph L on page 12 of the document. Paragraph L is entitled PQV Inspection Procedures and gives specific inspection instructions to OSHA inspectors for the conduct of PQV inspections. These instructions remain in effect today, and the balance of the CPL 2-2.45A document explains our general enforcement policy for the PSM standard.

Thank you for you interest in employee safety and health.


John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs