OSHA Delays Enforcement of New PSM Policy
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will delay enforcing a new interpretation of its Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard, prompting a bipartisan group of lawmakers to call for the agency to withdraw that interpretation.
In a July 22 memorandum, OSHA announced it had revised the interpretation that exempted retail facilities from PSM requirements. The exemption originally was intended only for retail establishments that sold hazardous chemicals in small quantities, such as gas stations, but the agency had been applying the exemption to establishments that made more than 50% of their income from direct sales of those chemicals to end users.
The new interpretation states that only facilities with North American Industry Classification System codes of 44 and 45 will be exempt. OSHA announced on 20 October that it will focus efforts on compliance assistance and, in most cases, will not cite newly nonexempted facilities for failing to comply with the PSM rule.
In response to the interim enforcement policy, 38 congressmen on 22 October sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez asking OSHA to rescind the memo and begin a formal rule-making process. The representatives claim that the interpretation is arbitrary and will impose a great cost on small and medium-sized businesses.