By Eric J. Conn, Head of the OSHA Practice Group at Epstein Becker & Green

At the end of November 2011, OSHA announced that it had extended nationwide what had been a limited pilot enforcement program targeting chemical facilities’ compliance with OSHA’s Process Safety Management Standard in a few Regions of the country.  This new Chemical Facilities PSM National Emphasis Program (Chem NEP) establishes policies and procedures for inspecting workplaces covered by OSHA’s PSM Standard.

The purpose of the Chem NEP is to allow OSHA to conduct many more, but focused inspections at chemical facilities selected from a list of worksites likely to operate covered processes.  For a detailed review of the following 10 important things that chemical plant operators need to know about the new nationwide Chem NEP, see my article published in EHS Today:

  1. The pilot Chem NEP is now expanded nationwide, including mandatory participate by approved State Plan States.
  2. The Chem NEP is effective immediately and has no set expiration.
  3. The Directive details who will be targeted for Chem NEP inspections.
  4. The Directive explains how OSHA will select which operating unit(s) will be inspected.
  5. Every Area Office will conduct at least 5 Chem NEP inspections each year.
  6. The Chem NEP emphasizes implementation of the PSM elements over well-documented PSM Programs.
  7. Inspections will follow a dynamic set of list questions.
  8. The Directive identifies a list of documents OSHA will request and information they will expect you to present.
  9. A single condition will yield multiple citation items.
  10. Abatement verification and documentation is now mandatory.