Process Safety Management


OSHA is initiating a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel in order to get feedback on several potential revisions to OSHA's Process Safety Management Program (PSM) standard. This effort arises from the President's Executive Order 13650, “Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security,” which charged the Agency to “identify issues related to modernization of the PSM Standard and related standards necessary to meet the goal of preventing major chemical accidents.” The modernization topics OSHA is considering stem from industry best practices, inspection history, stakeholder comments received in response to OSHA's 2013 Request for Information and lessons learned from accidents involving highly hazardous chemicals.

Topics to be considered by the Small Business Panel include:

  • Clarifying the PSM Exemption for Atmospheric Storage Tanks
  • Oil and Gas-Well Drilling and Servicing
  • Oil and Gas-Production Facilities
  • Expanding PSM Coverage and Requirements for Reactivity Hazards
  • Expanding the scope of Paragraph (e) by requiring safer technology and alternatives analysis
  • Updating the List of Highly Hazardous Chemicals in Appendix A of the PSM Standard
  • Revising the PSM Standard To Require Additional Management-System Elements
  • Amending Paragraph (d) of the PSM Standard To Require Evaluation of Updates to Applicable RAGAGEP
  • Clarifying the PSM Standard by Adding a Definition for RAGAGEP
  • Expanding the Scope of Paragraph (j) of the PSM Standard To Cover the Mechanical Integrity of Any Safety-Critical Equipment
  • Revising Paragraph (n) of the PSM Standard To Require Coordination of Emergency Planning With Local Emergency-Response Authorities
  • Amending Paragraph (m) of the existing PSM standard to require root cause analysis
  • Revising Paragraph (o) of the PSM Standard To Require Third-Party Compliance Audits
  • Expanding the Requirements of § 1910.109 To Cover Dismantling and Disposal of Explosives, Blasting Agents, and Pyrotechnics
  • Several additional minor modifications which largely codify existing OSHA interpretations of the PSM standard
  • Solicit feedback on any similar provision of EPA's RMP rule and the PSM standard that could be streamlined.

SBAR Panel Overview

As an initial rulemaking step, and prior to publication of any changes to existing rules or enforcement policies, OSHA is convening a Small Business Advocacy Review Panel (“SBAR Panel”) in accordance with the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This Panel consists of members from OSHA, the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy (SBA's Office of Advocacy, or Advocacy), and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The SBAR Panel provides an opportunity for Small Entity Representatives (“SERs”- small businesses, small governmental jurisdictions and small not-for-profit entities) to convey how the Agency's draft conceptual framework may impact small businesses and other small entities, and suggest ways to minimize those impacts while meeting OSHA's statutory goals. SERs are sent documents outlining the conceptual framework, alternatives to the conceptual framework, and preliminary analyses of the costs and impacts of the conceptual framework, for comment. The Panel's primary role is to report on the comments of the SERs and its findings as to issues related to small entity impacts and significant alternatives that accomplish the agency's objectives while minimizing the impact on small entities for the Assistant Secretary of Labor. The report will contain recommendations for the Agency on its analysis and on possible approaches to regulatory action that may minimize impacts on small entities.

OSHA anticipates formally convening the SBAR Panel in Spring of 2016.

OSHA is conducting this SBAR Panel early in the regulatory process in the interest of assuring that the Panel's report and recommendations can be fully considered in any subsequent rulemaking activities by the Agency. This is early in the process in the sense that OSHA has not yet decided whether to address all of the above issues in the proposal, it does not yet have draft regulatory text for each issue, and it intends to do much more research to refine its cost and benefit estimates. OSHA has not yet estimated baseline compliance, aggregate costs, or aggregate benefits. However, OSHA will provide estimates of the number of affected entities, the unit costs they might be expected to incur to comply with the potential changes being considered in these revisions, and the existing anecdotal and quantitative data pointing to the need for the revisions.

SBAR Panel teleconferences with SERs will be held a few weeks after the formal convening of the panel. Each SER will have the opportunity to provide comments to the SBAR Panel during a teleconference call. Alternatively, SERs may attend the teleconference in person in Washington, DC. The SBAR Panel will schedule several teleconference calls. Each teleconference call will be open to the public, but only the SERs and the members of the SBAR Panel will be permitted to participate in the discussions. Following the teleconference, SERs will have an opportunity to provide written comments to the Panel. The Panel plans to provide its final report to the docket approximately one month after the teleconferences have ended.

What is the Process Safety Management standard?

Highly hazardous chemicals are found in numerous industries. These include toxic chemicals, reactive chemicals, and flammable liquids and gases. If not managed safely during manufacture, transport, storage, and use, these chemicals can cause disastrous incidents with extremely dangerous-and sometimes fatal-consequences. Examples of such incidents include toxic chemical releases, runaway chemical reactions, major fires, and devastating explosions, all of which can injure or kill workers, contractors, emergency responders, and members of the public.

Recognizing the dangers associated with highly hazardous chemicals, Congress mandated (by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990) that OSHA set requirements for the management of highly hazardous substances to prevent and mitigate hazards associated with catastrophic releases of flammable, explosive, reactive, and toxic chemicals that may endanger workers. As a result, OSHA developed the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard (issued in 1992), which covers the manufacturing of explosives and processes involving threshold quantities of flammable liquids and flammable gasses (10,000 lbs), as well as 137 listed highly hazardous chemicals. The PSM standard (29 CFR 1910.119) requires employers to implement safety programs that identify, evaluate, and control these hazards. Unlike some of OSHA's standards, which prescribe precisely what employers must do to comply, PSM is a “performance-based” standard-it outlines key features of safety programs for controlling highly hazardous chemicals, and employers have the flexibility to tailor their safety programs to the unique conditions at their facilities. Specifically, the requirements of the standard, or process safety elements, are:

  1. Employee Participation
  2. Process Safety Information (PSI)
  3. Process Hazard Analysis (PHA)
  4. Operating Procedures
  5. Training
  6. Contractors
  7. Pre-startup Safety Review (PSSR)
  8. Mechanical Integrity (MI)
  9. Hot Work Permit
  10. Management of Change (MOC)
  11. Incident Investigation
  12. Emergency Planning and Response
  13. Compliance Audits
  14. Trade Secrets

SBAR Panel Final Report

The Panel's final report is available at at:


  • June 2 - Convene SBREFA Panel
  • Teleconferences with SERs
    • June 21 1:30pm - 4:30pm
    • June 22 1:30pm - 4:30pm
    • June 27 6:00pm - 8:30pm (new teleconference)
    • June 28 9:30am - 12:30pm
    • June 29 9:30am - 12:30pm
  • July 8 - all written comments from SERs due (Note, comments from SERs should be sent directly to Bryan Lincoln of OSHA, see contact information below, and OSHA will place all such comments into the docket.)
  • August 1 - Complete Panel, and report placed in docket

Additional Process Safety Management
Background Resources

Small Entity Representative Materials for SBREFA

  • SER Background Document: Provides information on the issues to be addressed with participating SERs. (Docket# OSHA-2013-0020-0107)
  • SER Issues Document: Contains a brief discussion of each topic and questions for participating SERs. (Docket# OSHA-2013-0020-0108)
  • SER Issues Presentation: A PowerPoint overview of the issues described in the background document. (Docket# OSHA-2013-0020-0109)

Further Information

Small Organizations Interested in Participating in SBREFA

Small organizations include small businesses as defined by SBA, not-for-profit organizations that are not dominant in their field, and local government organizations serving a population of less than 50,000.

  • If you have questions contact:
    • At OSHA, contact either:
    • At SBA's Office of Advocacy, contact Bruce Lundegren (whose office represents the views of small business in the SBREFA process) at: or by phone at: (202) 205-6144

Public Access

  • All teleconferences will be open to the public via telephone, but only SERs and SBAR Panel members can participate in the discussions. The public is also invited to attend in person. The teleconferences will be held in the DOL Building at 200 Constitution Ave NW in Washington DC.
  • Any interested party may submit comments, even those who are not participating as small entity representatives (SERs), and the Agency will include those comments in the public docket. While OSHA has no legal obligation to consider or to respond to non-SER comments, the Agency will consider them in its discretion as resources allow. All such comments can be submitted to OSHA docket OSHA-2013-0020 via the government's e-regulatory portal, The comment period will last until 2 weeks after the Panel report and will close on August 12.