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.

December 4, 2012

Mr. Daniel Casmey
Executive VP of Safety, Security & Regulatory Compliance
JCI Jones Chemicals, Inc.
2500 Vanderhoof Road
P.O. Box 349
Barberton, Ohio 44203

Dear Mr. Casmey:

Thank you for your April 18, 2012, letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements referenced below and may not be applicable to any question not included in your original correspondence. Your inquiry is related to the application of OSHA's standard, Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (PSM), 29 CFR 1910.119, specifically, the requirement to document inspections and tests on process equipment (29 CFR 1910.119(j)(4)(iv)).

Scenario: JCI Jones Chemicals, Inc. (JCI) is a repackager and distributer of chlorine, bleach, and sulfur dioxide for water and wastewater treatment applications. JCI ships its products in one-ton containers and 150-pound cylinders. When customers return the cylinders and containers to JCI, maintenance personnel remove, disassemble, inspect, reassemble, test, and reinstall the cylinder and container valves. While JCI has a PSM program for processes having threshold quantities of highly hazardous chemicals (e.g., chlorine and sulfur dioxide) the company does not include the valve inspection and test program in its mechanical integrity program.

Question (paraphrased): Does OSHA consider the removal, disassembly, inspection, reassembly, and reinstallation of the cylinder and container valves a mechanical integrity activity subject to the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.119(j), including the documentation requirement at 29 CFR 1910.119(j)(4)(iv)?

Response: Yes, the valve inspection actions you describe are mechanical integrity activities subject to the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.119(j), including the documentation requirement in 29 CFR 1910.119(j)(4)(iv), provided JCI subsequently connects the cylinder or container into which the valve is installed to a covered process containing a threshold quantity of a highly hazardous chemical.

When JCI connects a cylinder or container to a highly hazardous chemical-containing process (e.g., during the filling process) covered by PSM, the cylinder or container becomes process equipment in the covered process. As required in 29 CFR 1910.119(j)(2), the employer must develop written procedures to maintain the on-going integrity of process equipment and document inspections and tests performed on process equipment in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.119(j)(4)(iv).

Furthermore, one-ton chlorine containers are, in and of themselves, covered processes because they contain a threshold quantity of a highly hazardous chemical (i.e., 1500 pounds of chlorine). The container and its appurtenances are process equipment and must be maintained in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.119(j). Therefore, JCI must document the actions performed to ensure the integrity of the one-ton container and the valve.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA sets requirements by statute, standards, and regulations. Our letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time letters are affected when OSHA updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect an interpretation. To assure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of Chemical Process Safety and Enforcement Initiatives at (202) 693-2341.

Sincerely,

Thomas Galassi
Director, Directorate of Enforcement Programs