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Dairy Facts 2016

Proposed Changes to Risk Management Plan are Burdensome, IDFA Tells EPA

May 18, 2016

In comments filed with the Environmental Protection Agency last week, IDFA said that the proposed changes to its Risk Management Plan (RMP) could have a negative impact on the dairy industry without supporting the goals and purposes of the rule — to prevent chemical accidents and minimize possible impacts of those accidents on communities.

“While we support EPA’s goal of modernizing and streamlining the current regulations, IDFA believes that when properly implemented and enforced, the current RMP rules are effective in reducing risk of chemical accidents, resulting in a safer workplace for employees and adequately protecting communities and the environment,” IDFA said in its written comments.

The RMP regulations are intended to prevent the accidental release of chemicals. For dairy companies, RMP regulates anhydrous ammonia used in industrial refrigeration systems and chlorine used at wastewater treatment plants.

Specifically, IDFA suggested several areas the EPA needed to revise before finalizing the rule, including:  

  • The definition for catastrophic release should not be expanded to include onsite injuries from chemical accidents as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Process Safety Management (PSM) regulation already protects workers;
  • Root cause analyses should be limited to reportable accidents;
  • Criteria for third party audits are far too restrictive and will limit dairy companies’ ability to find qualified auditors;
  • Delegation of EPA’s authority to local emergency planning committees to require facilities to create emergency response plans is unlawful;
  • Emergency response drill reports should be limited in scope and detail; and
  • The public disclosure requirements are excessive and would compromise a facility’s security rather than protect it.

Read the full comments here.

Possible Changes to PSM Standard Released

Last week, OSHA released documents detailing possible changes to the Process Safety Management standard. These possible changes will be reviewed by a Small Business Review Panel later this spring. This program was developed to ensure safe and healthy workplaces by requiring management of hazards associated with processes that use highly hazardous chemicals.

Several of these possible changes mirror the proposed changed to the RMP, including requiring:

  • Third party compliance audits every three years;
  • Root cause analysis to be conducted during all incident investigations; and
  • Coordination with local emergency response authorities.

These documents can be found through the public docket set up by OSHA.

For members with questions concerning the proposed changes to the RMP or PSM, contact Emily Lyons, IDFA director of regulatory affairs and counsel, at

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