Process Safety Management Rulemaking


OSHA published the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard (29 CFR 1910.119) in 1992 in response to several catastrophic chemical-release incidents that occurred worldwide. The incidents spurred broad recognition in the safety community that accidental releases of highly hazardous chemicals can result in multiple worker injuries or fatalities.

Employers are covered by the standard when they have a process with a threshold quantity of a listed chemical or flammable material, or manufacture explosives or pyrotechnics. Chemicals are listed because of toxicity and reactivity.

The PSM standard requires a comprehensive management program that integrates technologies, procedures, and management practices to help assure safe and healthful workplaces.

While the PSM standard has been effective in improving process safety in the United States and protecting workers from many of the hazards associated with uncontrolled releases of highly hazardous chemicals, major incidents have continued to occur. Examples of such incidents include toxic chemical releases, runaway chemical reactions, major fires, and devastating explosions, all of which can injure or kill workers.

About the Rule

On August 1, 2013, President Obama signed Executive Order 13650 ("EO"), entitled Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security requires OSHA to "identify issues related to modernizing the PSM standard." In December of 2013 the Agency published a Request for Information (RFI). Subsequently, OSHA convened a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel in August 2016. The Agency continues its rulemaking research and analyzing comments from the RFI and SBAR panel report.

The next step in this rulemaking project will be an informal stakeholder meeting.