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 http://www.osha.gov.
March 28, 1995
Mr. Robert M. Bachman
System Safety Engineer
P.O. Box 250
Independence, MO 84051-0250
Dear Mr. Bachman:
Thank you for your letter of February 7, 1995, in which you expressed some concerns regarding OSHA's response to Mr. Douglas H. Delsemme's inquiry of May 25, 1994, regarding coverage under the Process Safety Management Standard. We apologize for the delay in responding to you.
As you have indicated in your letter, the response to Mr. Delsemme's inquiry was based on a strict interpretation of the Process Safety Management (PSM) regulation and the limited information that was supplied to OSHA. In the absence of detailed information on any operation, inferences beyond the strict interpretation of the regulation would not be appropriate.
We are very concerned about the unfortunate accident that you have brought to our attention. We would be very appreciative if you would provide us with additional information surrounding this accident, particularly with regard to the causes of the accident and their relation to our interpretation. It would be most helpful to us if you could have an investigative file forwarded to us, so that we may analyze the information and review our policies. We hope to be able to determine if this unfortunate accident occurred as a result of violations of the PSM Standard or other unrelated reasons. Please advise us of your thoughts on how the inclusion of the repackaging of propellant powder in the PSM regulation would have eliminated the possibility of this type of an accident.
Thank you for your continuing interest in the health and safety of the American workers, and for bringing your concerns to our attention. We look forward to your continued cooperation and assistance. If you have questions about these requests, please contact Ms. Alcmene Haloftis of my staff on 202-219-8031.
John B. Miles, Jr.,
Director Directorate of Compliance Programs