Neglecting Your Health and Your EHS Program’s Health Can Be Hazardous Reply

Our series about auditing and how it resembles an annual physical comes to an end
with this article that discusses risk management and process safety management
(RMP and PSM) assessments. In the same way that an annual physical may alert
you of weight gain or poor nutrition, an annual assessment of your chemical
processes provides a grasp of the current state of the management of your
facility’s hazards.

An annual physical typically begins with a weigh-in. Your weight is tracked and observed by your doctor, and when unhealthy dietary choices and lack of exercise
have led you to pack on some pounds, your doctor will suggest that you modify
your food choices and increase your activity level.

Likewise, mismanaging your RMP and PSM program could lead your processes
down a slippery slope of poor condition. Does your maintenance group maintain
each part of your process in a way that prevents known hazards? Have your
operating procedures been reviewed and certified as current and accurate each
year? Is your frequency of training your employees on RMP and PSM often enough
so that employees are refreshed on the hazards of the process and can perform
their jobs in a safe manner? Answers to these questions are asked during a required
and enforceable 3-year Compliance Audit; however, wouldn’t it be a good idea to
catch these issues ahead of time by performing an annual program assessment?

These pieces to the healthy PSM and RMP puzzle need constant attention, review,
and care. Just as easily as you can get out of the exercise groove, you can also fall
off the wagon with your awareness and upkeep of your PSM and RMP processes.
An annual program assessment is non-enforceable, kept internal, and ensures
that you regularly evaluate your PSM and RMP targets for compliance, the plan
to reach those targets, program milestones achieved, the resources available
to get to the next step, and program areas in need of work.

Just like there are apps to track your food and exercise plan on your phone,
computer, or other electronic device, CAPACCIO’s EHS Dashboard can help you
track your PSM and RMP action items from an annual assessment to help you
reach your goals for a safe and healthy process.

Don’t wait for an inspection to uncover your program’s health issues; call or
email Christine Silverman 508-970-0033 x 127 or csilverman@capaccio.com
for assistance.

EPA Finalizes Amendments to the Risk Management Program (RMP) Rule Reply

The current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Gina McCarthy, has quickly turned around final amendments to the RMP Rule as a result of requirements under Executive Order 13650 issued by President Obama: “Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security.” The rule was signed on December 21, 2016 and EPA is submitting it for publication. The new changes will be effective 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. CAPACCIO will provide the link to the official regulation once it has been published. A link will also be available on the Government Printing Office’s FDsys website (https://www.gpo.gov/).

Why do we need these changes and what are they?

EPA has data that suggests that current methods to prevent and mitigate releases of reportable chemicals are insufficient. There have been 58 deaths and nearly 500,000 people evacuated or sheltered-in-place in the last 10 years. Therefore, the changes made to the rule are meant to improve accident prevention RMP program elements, enhance emergency preparedness requirements, and provide local emergency responders and the community with more use-friendly access to chemical information and emergency response information at the facility.

Specifically, the final rule requires:

  • Program 3 facilities in paper manufacturing, petroleum and coal product manufacturing, and chemical manufacturing to include a Safer Technology and Alternatives Analysis (STAA) in the Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) and determine feasibility of Inherently Safer Technology (IST);
  • Program 2 and 3 facilities to conduct a third-party audit and root cause analysis after an incident;
  • Changes to some of the regulatory definitions and some of the elements submitted in a facility’s Risk Management Plan to the EPA;
  • All program level facilities to make chemical hazard information more readily available to the public; and
  • Program 2 and 3 facilities to conduct annual coordination activities with the local emergency planning committee (LEPC) and emergency responders (Fire Department and other emergency personnel), as well as conduct tabletop and field exercises to test their emergency response programs.

It is uncertain whether the change in political climate will affect these changes to the regulations, but we are following the rule closely and will keep you informed of the developments.

If you have questions about the Risk Management Program or Risk Management Plans, please contact Christine Silverman at 508-970-0033 ext. 127 or csilverman@capaccio.com.

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Using Tier II Reporting to Minimize Risks of Off-Site Consequences Reply

Tier II reporting season is coming up. With the March 1 deadline comes the opportunity to not only take a fresh look at the chemicals stored at your facility, but to also see if any of these chemicals, despite being below the reportable thresholds, could trigger an offsite consequence, which has become one of EPA’s enforcement initiatives under the General Duty Clause of Risk Management Planning. Please read below for important updates to Tier II reporting as well as further information on Risk Management Programs and some ways CAPACCIO can assist by minimizing the risks associated with off-site chemical consequences.

Reporting Year 2016 Tier II Reports Due by March 1 & MEMA’s Online Reporting System Information 

Massachusetts facilities covered by the federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) requirements must submit Tier II reports to their Emergency Planning Committee (EPC), Local Fire Department, and the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) by March 1, 2017. The reference table below may assist you in determining your facility’s applicability to this reporting requirement:

Tier II reporting thresholds:

Extremely hazardous substances (EHS)* 500 pounds (227 kg) or threshold planning quantity, whichever is less.
All other hazardous substances: 10,000 pounds (4,540 kg) for any material that has an SDS
*You may obtain a list of EHS substances on the EPA website here.

MEMA, in coordination with the Massachusetts State Emergency Response Commission (SERC), intends to use the web-based Tier II Manager System for the 2016 Tier II reporting period. It is anticipated that the Tier II Manager System will be available for 2016 reporting by January 9, 2017. MEMA will provide notice to all Tier II Manager System users when the System is available. You may Click here for a link to the online filing system.

The Tier II Manager System is used for filing Tier II reports with the Massachusetts SERC only. Please note that facilities are required to submit separate reports to their respective EPC and Fire Departments.

All Tier II filers must register on the new system, with a limit of one user account per facility. Registration is a one-time process, so if you have already registered to use the Tier II Manager System you do not need to do so again. Previous Tier II data for your facility is preloaded into the system to allow for easier 2016 data reporting.

The SERC is requiring that all RY 2016 Tier II reporting entities submit electronic reports; hard copies will not be accepted.

General Duty Clause and Risk Management Program Clean Air Act EPA Enforcement Initiative

In order to prevent accidents that can cause off-site consequences, Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act established the Risk Management Plan (RMP) program that requires facilities with certain chemicals above regulatory thresholds (see the list in 40 CFR 68) to develop and implement an RMP program that identifies and mitigates the hazards associated with chemical use.

Although the RMP program is only applicable when quantities exceed a certain threshold, the regulation also includes a GENERAL DUTY CLAUSE (GDC) that requires facilities which use ANY AMOUNT of the chemicals on the RMP list (or any amount of an extremely hazardous substance) to understand and mitigate any hazards that could result in off-site consequences.

Therefore, companies need to look at chemicals at their facilities that are on the list in 40 CFR 68 (or are extremely hazardous substances) EVEN IF THEY ARE STORED/USED BELOW REGULATORY THRESHOLDS, and make a determination if there could be a risk of off-site consequences in the event of an accident.

This regulation, and the GDC, are now an enforcement priority for EPA, in part because of a fatality that occurred last year involving a release of gaseous ammonia. The EPA will be using Tier II data as part of their initiative to target facilities that meet the conditions of the GDC.

CAPACCIO’s GDC experts go beyond the basic Tier II reporting, and help you to reduce the risks associated with chemicals stored at your facility that could travel off-site. Our dynamic approaches and levels of GDC support include:

Basic High Level Screening: CAPACCIO will review your company’s Tier II list and/or chemical inventory and select a few chemicals stored in large quantities or extremely hazardous substances to run through the ALOHA model, and determine if there are likely to be off-site consequences.

In-Depth Screening: CAPACCIO will review more chemicals, and will perform ALOHA modeling and subsequent analysis using site specific inputs. We will provide a list of chemicals for which GDC requirements are applicable, and a recommendation to determine what additional work may be required to comply with GDC requirements.

Gap Analysis: CAPACCIO will review your existing standard operating procedures, mechanical integrity programs, and management of change procedures to determine what steps need to be taken to conform to GDC requirements. You will receive a matrix with any gaps that are identified. CAPACCIO can then assist in closing out gaps identified, and assist with the development of an RMP “Lite” Program if desired (see below).

Development of an RMP “Lite” Program: CAPACCIO can help you implement the recommendations that result from the Gap Analysis that may include development of process flow diagrams, procedures and training (if needed), as well as engineering tasks such as preparation of process safety information and off-site consequences analysis.

We can help! Our Tier II and GDC experts can assist you with the reporting and planning challenges as noted above that are associated with these programs. If you have any questions about either the Tier II or GDC programs, please contact Christine Silverman at 508-970-0033 ext. 127 or csilverman@capaccio.com or Alexis Dallaportas at 608-970-0033 ext. 142 or adallasportas@capaccio.com.

General Duty Clause and Risk Management Program Clean Air Act EPA Enforcement Initiative – Are you in compliance? Reply

Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act establishes the Risk Management Plan (RMP) program, which requires facilities with certain chemicals above regulatory thresholds (see list at 40 CFR 68) to develop and implement an RMP program. An RMP program is designed to identify and mitigate the hazards associated with chemical use in order to prevent accidents that can cause off-site consequences.

Although the RMP program is only applicable when quantities exceed a certain threshold, the regulation also includes a GENERAL DUTY CLAUSE, that requires facilities which use ANY AMOUNT of the chemicals on the RMP list (or any amount of an extremely hazardous substance) to understand and mitigate any hazards that could result in off-site consequences.

What this means is that companies should be looking at chemicals at their facilities that are on the list in 40 CFR 68 (or are extremely hazardous substances) EVEN IF THEY ARE STORED/USED BELOW REGULATORY THRESHOLDS and making a determination if there is a risk of off-site consequences in the event of an accident. This can be done fairly quickly using EPA’s ALOHA modeling software.

Although this regulation and the GENERAL DUTY CLAUSE have been on the books since 1990, it is now an enforcement priority for EPA, in part because of the fatality that occurred this spring involving a release of gaseous ammonia.

CAPACCIO can help in several ways and at varying levels with your GENERAL DUTY CLAUSE Requirements:

Basic High Level Screening: CAPACCIO will review your company’s Tier II list and/or chemical inventory and select a few chemicals stored in large quantities or extremely hazardous substances. We will run these chemicals through the ALOHA model and determine if there are likely to be off-site consequences. The client will receive a list of chemicals that may have off-site consequences and a recommendation for any additional work related to determining impacts and reviewing additional chemicals, if warranted.

In-Depth Screening: Similar to above, but CAPACCIO will review more chemicals. ALOHA modeling and subsequent analysis using site specific inputs will be conducted. Working with the company’s chemical inventory and site information, CAPACCIO will provide a list of chemicals for which GENERAL DUTY CLAUSE requirements are applicable and a recommendation such as a gap analysis to determine what additional work may be required to comply with GENERAL DUTY CLAUSE requirements.

Gap Analysis: CAPACCIO will review the company’s existing standard operating procedures, mechanical integrity programs, management of change procedures. to determine what steps need to be taken to conform to  GENERAL DUTY CLAUSE requirements. The client receives a matrix with any gaps which are identified. CAPACCIO can close out gaps identified and assist with the development of an RMP “Lite” Program if desired (see below).

Development of an RMP “Lite” Program: CAPACCIO can help a company implement the recommendations that result from the Gap Analysis. This would include development of process flow diagrams, procedures and training (if needed), as well as engineering tasks such as preparation of process safety information and off-site consequences analysis. The client receives a written plan of the program.

For more information, please contact Lucy Servidio, CHMM, TURP, at 508-970-0033 ext. 114 or lservidio@capaccio.com.