OSHA's Process Safety Management Standard Explained

Many businesses that operate in the Environmental Health and Safety landscape use flammable, toxic or otherwise hazardous chemicals in their day-to-day functions. Because doing so potentially puts employees in harm’s way, it’s important that organizations have certain precautions in place to maintain safety standards and overall compliance. No matter the industry, it’s crucial that businesses take preventative action to meet all standards and lower the chances of risk in the workspace.

Process safety management is a regulation enacted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It refers to the precautions put forth during any activity that involves the handling, use or movement of hazardous chemicals. OSHA developed this standard to make sure organizations are promoting safe workplaces to improve the quality of work for employees.

OSHA’s process safety management standard addresses specific components of the construction industry, but also contains regulations that apply across all sectors. If you’d like to find out more about the agency’s process safety management standard, check out the following information.

The standard, in short

Reviewing OSHA’s specific requirements can be quite daunting, especially when you’re looking for solutions immediately. We will include a sort of elevator pitch for OSHA’s process safety management standard.

Who is the standard for?

All businesses in the manufacturing space will likely come into contact with hazardous chemicals and therefore will need to have solutions in place regarding OSHA’s process safety management standard. In particular, this regulation speaks to businesses operating in “general” industries and specifically in the construction sector.

What is the purpose of this standard?

Individuals working in the manufacturing industry come into contact with dangerous materials and chemicals regularly throughout their day-to-days. Even the most careful employees may experience an incident that puts themselves and others at risk of exposure to harmful toxins. OSHA developed this standard to put employers responsible for providing their workers with the tools and knowledge they will need to stay safe in the manufacturing space.

What does the standard require?

The major requirement of this standard is a process hazard analysis. This is a specific review of what could go wrong in different work settings that use hazardous chemicals. It also means that employers are obligated to provide solutions to how they will prevent and mitigate exposure to hazardous materials.

OSHA process safety management

The standard for general industry

OSHA’s standard for dangerous chemicals provides all-encompassing requirements and non-mandatory resources for businesses working in all areas of the EHS space. The process safety standard is located in OSHA’s 1910 Subpart H on hazardous materials. This section holds the major requirements for preventing or mitigating the effects of dangerous releases of toxic, explosive or flammable chemicals.

OSHA’s 1910.119 standard is made up of a few sections that pertain to the management of hazardous chemicals. Appendix A, which is mandatory for all general industry businesses, contains a list of the major dangerous chemicals, toxics and reactives that are present in the EHS space. It is crucial that businesses educate their employees on these hazards and provide them with their chemical abstract service number and threshold quantity in pounds.

The rest of the subsections are not mandatory for general industry organizations, though they are still important in maintaining workplace safety. Appendix B contains a block- and a process-flow diagram, both of which demonstrate the correct progression of how to handle certain chemicals and gases. Appendix C provides a guideline to help employers and workers comply with the standards set forth by the process safety management standard. It also provides other recommendations and information for employers working in the general industry. Finally, Appendix D provides sources for further information for employers and staff looking to improve the scope of their understanding regarding the management of hazardous chemicals in the general industry.

The standard for construction industry

The process safety management standard for construction is similar in structure to the general industry regulations, but its specifics are different. The standard for construction is OSHA 1926 Subpart D. Appendix A, the list of highly hazardous chemicals and reactives, is a mandatory component of the standard in construction, while the other appendixes are not required. Like the standard for general industry, Appendix B contains a block-flow diagram and simplified process-flow diagram, Appendix C contains guidelines and recommendations for employers and staff members to meet the standard and Appendix D includes sources for further information regarding safety precautions around dangerous chemicals and materials.

Maintaining compliance with EHS software

One of the most effective ways to ensure your business is meeting OSHA’s process safety management standard, as well as other mandatory and recommended regulations, is to incorporate an effective EHS solution into your business functions. When you invest in EHS software, you are providing information to those who need it most, from those working on-site to those in offices.

ProcessMAP’s EHS suite can improve business’ safety and compliance measures by keeping them aligned with OSHA’s standards. Get in touch with us to find out how you can improve your workplace safety culture in the manufacturing space.

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