EPA to Seek Employee Participation in Chemical Safety Inspections

EPA has released an interim guidance that would provide greater transparency in the agency’s chemical safety inspections process. Under the interim guidance, EPA inspectors will offer employees and employee representatives the opportunity to participate in chemical safety inspections.

The interim guidance pertains to inspections conducted by EPA under the agency’s Risk Management Program (RMP). Through this program, EPA seeks to reduce the risks to surrounding communities that arise from the management, use or storage of certain hazardous chemicals. Owners and operators of covered facilities must develop a risk management plan, which includes facility plans for the prevention and response to chemical accidents. Under the Clean Air Act, the Chemical Accident Prevention Provisions require facilities that produce, handle, process, distribute or store certain chemicals to develop a Risk Management Program, prepare a risk management plan, and submit the plan to EPA.

The agency also will request that state and local agencies adopt similar procedures under the RMP. The agency believes that close involvement of employees and employee representatives in inspections is effective and better protects workers and the adjacent communities.

EPA expects to issue final guidance on participation of employees and employee representative in RMP inspections later this year.

More information on EPA’s interim guidance and RMP visit http://www.epa.gov/oem/content/rmp/index.htm.

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