Handling Extremely Hazardous Chemicals – A Discussion of the General Duty Clause Reply

In the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, Congress enacted Section 112(r)(1), also known as the General Duty Clause (GDC), which makes the owners and operators of facilities that use listed or other extremely hazardous substances responsible for ensuring that their chemicals are managed safely. The General Duty Clause applies to any facility producing, processing, handling, or storing extremely hazardous substances (i.e., any chemicals listed in 40 CFR Part 68, or any other chemicals which may be considered extremely hazardous).

Although the GDC appears in the Chemical Accident Prevention Program (aka Risk Management Plan (RMP)) regulations, it does not compel subject facilities to prepare and implement an RMP. Instead, facilities subject to the GDC (i.e.  any facility with extremely hazardous substances) are required to:

  • Identify and understand the hazards associated with the extremely hazardous substances used (hazard assessment)
  • Design and maintain a safe facility (prevention program)
  • Minimize the consequences of accidental releases that do occur (emergency response program)

Without specific regulatory requirements to follow, many facilities find it difficult to know if they have satisfied their obligations under the GDC. To demonstrate due diligence we recommend  the following:

  • Conduct a hazard analysis / review using experience, analytical methods such as HAZOP, or creative methods such as what-if brainstorming
  • Identify the consequences of the release identified in the hazard analysis / review
  • Adopt best industry practices, codes or consensus standards
  • Understand the unique site situations that may require specific accident prevention techniques
  • Apply lessons learned from accidents and incidents in similar operations
  • Develop an emergency response plan
  • Develop standard operating procedures, training programs, management of change procedures, an incident investigation program, self-audits involving a third party, and a preventative maintenance program
  • Identify at-risk receptors in the event of a maximum possible release and alternative release scenarios identified in the hazard analysis/review
  • Coordinate interaction needed between facility management, employees, and local response agencies

If you have questions on the GDC or the RMP program, consider attending our free webinar on Wednesday, March 23, 2016. Please register  on our website at http://www.capaccio.com.

For more information on this topic, you may also contact Christine Silverman at 508.970.0033 ext. 127  or csilverman@capaccio.com.