OSHA Misses Reactive Chemical Deadline

No penalties are likely to be collected, but OSHA and EPA have violated the statute (42 USC 7412) authorizing the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB).

On Sept. 21, CSB issued a series of recommendations concerning the regulation of reactive chemicals. CSB called on OSHA to amend the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard (29 CFT 1910.119) to achieve more comprehensive control of reactive hazards that could have catastrophic consequences. The safety board also wants OSHA to define and record information on reactive incidents the agency investigates.

When it created CSB, Congress called on OSHA and EPA to respond within 180 days to the board's recommendations.

OSHA had not responded as of April 4; an agency official said, "A response would be forthcoming." Revising the PSM rule was removed from OSHA's regulatory agenda in May 2001, the first agenda that reflected the priorities of the Bush administration.

Asked if OSHA's failure to meet a deadline concerning a regulatory action was a "serious," "willful" or "repeat" violation, the CSB declined to comment.

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