American Society of Safety Engineers Push for Separate Reactive Chemical Regulation

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) wants OSHA, EPA and the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) to explore the development of a new, separate regulation that would address processes and not simply chemicals.

"Our member safety, health and environmental professionals report a need for such an advance in OSHA's regulatory tools," said ASSE President James "Skipper" Kendrick, CSP.

Under consideration by these federal safety agencies is a plan to address reactive chemicals through the existing OSHA Standard on Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (PSM) and EPA's Risk Management Rule (RMP).

"Based on the experience and expertise of our members, ASSE believes that separate regulations will be more likely to achieve the objective of increasing the safety and health of both workers and the public," Kendrick said. "Attempting to force reactive chemicals to 'fit' under the PSM or RMP may not only fail to address the unique threats from reactive chemicals, the regulatory viability of these two successful programs may be compromised by trying to do so."

Kendrick acknowledged the difficulty of managing the threat of reactive chemicals through the regulatory process and commended OSHA, EPA and the CSB for their attempt to move forward on the issue of reactive chemicals.

"We believe that OSHA's PSM and EPA's RMP are two of the most successful programs the federal government has ever undertaken to advance the safety and health of both workers and the public at large," Kendrick added. "While reactive chemicals do fall under the broad umbrella of process safety management, which these programs utilize, ASSE does not believe that they are appropriate vehicles for the regulation of reactive chemicals."

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