Deadline nearing for Hazardous Material Process or Processing (527 CMR 33) permit applications Reply

The new year is fast approaching, and so is the deadline to submit permit applications for 527 CMR 33 – Hazardous Material Process or Processing. On or before January 1, 2014, companies that fall under Categories 2 and 3 are required to submit their permit applications.

As a refresher, Category 2 companies have a process which involves or produces a hazardous material which occurs in a vessel that is greater than 2.5 gallons but less than or equal to 60 gallons. Companies that fall under this category must have the following in place in addition to submitting the permit application by the deadline:

• Hazard Communication Program
• Chemical Hygiene Program
• Flammable Storage Permit/License
• Emergency Response Planning

Category 3 companies have a process which involves or produces a hazardous material which occurs in a vessel greater than 60 gallons but less than or equal to 300 gallons, or a process that is conducted in an area that is classified as an H-occupancy per the Massachusetts Building Code. Companies that fall under this category must fulfill all the same requirements as Category 2, but must also have in place a:

• Process Hazard Evaluation for each Category 3 process
• Procedure for Post Incident Analysis

CAPACCIO has successfully helped companies come into compliance with this regulation and has worked with local fire departments to obtain the necessary permits. It is important that you are prepared to educate the fire department about your processes and that you involve them early in the process. If your permit is denied, the fire department may require an evaluation by a third party.

With the deadline drawing near, CAPACCIO can ensure that all the necessary leg work is done and the last minute details are taken care of before submitting your permit application to the fire department. We can help with determining your applicability and process category, updating your plans and policies, implementing applicable program requirements, compiling and preparing specific documentation to demonstrate compliance to the regulation, preparing your permit, and working with your local fire department to submit your permit.

Please contact Christopher Walton, PE, BCEE, Senior Associate, at 508.970.0033 ext. 139 or cwalton@capaccio.com if you require assistance on some or all of these tasks to ensure you meet the January 1 deadline.

Massachusetts Department of Fire Services Promulgates New Hazardous Material Processing Regulations Reply

On February 3, 2012 the new Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (DFS) Hazardous Materials Processing regulation (527 CMR 33) came into effect.  DFS developed this regulation to help prevent the occurrence of incidents like the explosion in Leominster in 2005, the fire and explosion in Danvers in 2006, and the fire and explosion in Middleton in 2011 – all involving processes using hazardous materials.

The new regulation categorizes new or existing processes involving hazardous materials (haz mat) into one of five categories (five being the category with the most requirements) according to the following criteria:

  • The size of the process vessel containing the haz mat(s)
  • The NFPA 704 Rating for the chemicals involved or produced
  • Whether the haz mat process is in an area of the facility that is classified as an H Occupancy under the Massachusetts State Building Code, and
  • Whether the haz mat process is subject to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) Process Safety Management Standard (PSM) or the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Risk Management Program (RMP) requirements.

There are exceptions for certain processes and haz mats which are listed in section 33.01(3) of the regulation.

The compliance schedule is as follows:

  • Facilities with Category 5 processes must comply by January 1, 2013
  • Facilities with Category 4 processes must comply by June 1, 2013
  • Facilities with Category 2 and 3 processes must comply by January 1, 2014
  • Facilities with Category 1 processes should already be in compliance (For these facilities compliance involves requirements that the facility is likely already subject to due to other OSHA standards and state fire codes.)

 The specific requirements for each category are called out below:

Process Category Size of Vessel
(containing a haz mat with
NFPA 704 rating 3 or 4)
Requirements
Category 1 < 2.5 gallons
  • Haz Com Program
  • Chemical Hygiene Program
  • Flammable Storage Permit/License
  • Emergency Response Planning
Category 2 >2.5 gallons but <60 gallons
  • Haz Com Program
  • Chemical Hygiene Program
  • Flammable Storage Permit/License
  • Emergency Response Planning
  • Haz Mat Processing Permit
Category 3 >60 gallons but <300 gallonsOr a process area classified as a H Occupancy under the Massachusetts State Building Code
  • Haz Com Program
  • Chemical Hygiene Program
  • Flammable Storage Permit/License
  • Emergency Response Planning
  • Haz Mat Processing Permit
  • Category 3 Process Hazard Analysis
Category 4 >300 gallons and is not a vessel with a capacity that is not in excess of threshold quantities for OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard or EPA’s Risk Management Program
  • Haz Com Program
  • Chemical Hygiene Program
  • Flammable Storage Permit/License
  • Emergency Response Planning
  • Haz Mat Processing Permit
  • Category 3 Process Hazard Analysis
  • Category 4 Limited Process Safety Program
Category 5 A vessel with a capacity that is in excess of threshold quantities for OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard (PSM) or EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP)
  • PSM or RMP Program
  • Haz Mat Processing Permit
  • Emergency Response Planning

 

Categories 2  through 5 require the submittal of an application for a  Permit to Process Hazardous Materials  to your local fire department (LFD).  The LFD will perform an inspection to see that the requirements are fulfilled and issue the Haz Mat Processing Permit.  The LFD may also request a third party review of process operations and associated hazard analyses for clarification that requirements are being met. Verify that your programs are in place and up to date to facilitate readiness for the permit inspection by the LFD.

The LFD also needs to be notified prior to engaging in any new or modified hazardous materials process activity which results in a change to the highest process category authorized by the current permit.  This involves the submission of a new permit application to the LFD.

As with any new regulation both the regulators and the regulated community need to learn about the regulation and how it needs to be administered.  The DFS is planning on conducting training sessions both for the fire service (LFDs) and the regulated community.  Keep an eye out for announcements about this training on the DFS website http://www.mass.gov/eopss/agencies/dfs/ and the DFS Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Massachusetts-Department-of-Fire-Services/178022955562314).

Application forms and inspection checklists are currently being developed by the DFS.

While you wait, CAPACCIO suggests that you look at your process operations, and the hazardous materials involved or produced by them, to be ready when the training and permit forms are available.   In preparation, answer the following questions for each process:

  • Does the process use a haz mat in a vessel?
  • Is the activity or process exempt from the requirements of 527 CMR 33?
  • What is the size of the process vessel ?
  • What is the NFPA 704 rating of the haz mat involved/produced?
  • Is the process in an H Occupancy area?
  • Is the process already subject to PSM or RMP requirements?

Remember that the majority of the requirements for Category 1 to 3 processes are ones that facilities are already subject to, and to which facilities should already be in compliance.  These regulations include:

  • Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200)
  • Occupational exposure to hazardous chemicals in laboratories (Chemical Hygiene) (29 CFR 1910.1450 )
  • Flammable and combustible Liquids (29 CFR 1910.106)
  • Flammable Storage Permitting and Licensing (527 CMR 14)
  • Emergency Response Planning
    • Emergency Planning (Evacuation) (29 CFR 1910.38)
    • Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) (29 CFR 1910.120)
    • Hazardous Waste Contingency Planning (310 CMR 30.341(b))

It is also noted that Category 5 facilities should already be in compliance with PSM and/or RMP requirements (29 CFR 1910. 119 or 49 CFR 68 respectively).

Please contact Linda Swift at (508)970-0033 extension 119 or via email at lswift@capaccio.com with any questions you may have about this new regulation or assistance you may need in assessing how the regulation applies to your processes or in bringing the programs mentioned above up to date.

OSHA Update: Aligning GHS with the Hazard Communication Standard Reply

In September of 2006, OSHA announced that it would be aligning its Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) with the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS).  To date, 67 countries around the world have implemented some form of GHS, and many chemical manufacturers, suppliers, and end users of chemical products are anxiously awaiting its implementation in The United States.  In a recent web chat, OSHA announced it has updated its timeframe to publish a final rule on GHS alignment with HCS in September 2011. However, it also stated that the proposed rule is still undergoing an internal agency review and has yet to be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its usual 90-day review, so it is likely that the final rule will not be published until early 2012.

When the rule is finally published, it may include an implementation schedule that would allow up to three years or more to achieve compliance. OSHA has stated it is not changing the major components of the HCS but instead is modifying it to align with the major elements of GHS which include guidelines for hazard classifications, hazard warning statements, container labels, and safety data sheets (SDS).  The immediate impact will be to chemical manufacturers and suppliers who will have to rewrite, publish, and distribute new chemical safety data sheets and also provide new labels for chemical containers.

 The anticipated impacts to employers in the US will include:

  • Modification of written hazard communication programs
  • Modification of employee training programs to cover the new chemical classifications, labeling, and hazard warnings (pictograms)
  • Obtaining new SDSs to replace existing MSDSs
  • Re-labeling of in-house chemical containers with the new labels

When the final rule is published, CAPACCIO will provide a summary of its major requirements and the implementation timeline for compliance in an e-blast. A series of webinars to discuss the new rule and its impact on our clients will also quickly follow.

For more information, please contact Bob King at 508.970.0033 x113 or bking@capaccio.com.