In comments filed with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Small Business Advocacy Review Panel last week, IDFA and Perry’s Ice Cream Company, Inc., questioned the necessity of several changes the agency might make to the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard. They said the changes OSHA is considering would disproportionately affect small dairy businesses without helping to prevent or minimize employee exposure to hazards related to the uncontrolled release of regulated chemicals.
In the comments, IDFA and Perry's supported the current standard, noting that OSHA had not provided evidence that the standard is deficient. They warned that many of the requirements in the possible changes would result “in added costs, confusion and inefficiencies with minimal or no improvement in safety or security at facilities” and could overlap with other regulations and practices already in place at small dairy companies.
Small Business Burden
The comments highlighted several of the possible changes that would create significant obstacles for small dairy companies:
- The contemplated emergency response and coordination requirement would require more local emergency-planning resources than some small companies can access. Conducting an emergency drill for the release of a regulated chemical at a facility can be costly and time intensive for a small business.
- The third-party audit requirement would present a large cost to small companies without guaranteeing enhanced safety of facilities.
- A requirement to update the Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices (RAGAGEP) would require employers to spend significant time and effort keeping up to date on published engineering codes from numerous organizations, many of which do not directly address covered processes for dairy facilities.
For dairy companies, the PSM standard mainly applies to the use of anhydrous ammonia in refrigeration systems and the use of chlorine at wastewater treatment facilities. The comments noted that the use of these chemicals in dairy companies is also regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and asked OSHA to reconsider several of the proposed changes to ensure that they complement regulations issued by EPA and other agencies.
The comments also said that proposed requirements involving a root cause analysis for incident investigations and requiring stop work authority programs under the PSM overlap successful practices already in use in dairy companies.
Read the comments here.
IDFA has scheduled a call for its Environmental Worker Safety Committee to discuss the possible changes to the PSM standard and other regulatory issues. It will take place Tuesday, July 19, from 3-4 p.m. Eastern time.
For more information, contact Emily Lyons, IDFA director of regulatory affairs and counsel, at email@example.com.