EPA and Work Safety Regulations to Watch in 2024

Posted on 3/12/2024 by Nick Waldron and Roger Marks

Industrial and commercial facilities that store, ship, or use hazardous chemicals can expect a slew of new Federal regulations that will affect environmental and workplace safety compliance programs in 2024. This Rules to Watch in 2024 feature relies on details and forecasts provided by US EPA and OSHA in the semiannual Unified Agenda of Regulatory and De-Regulatory Actions.  

Lion Members: Find out when to expect all of this year’s forecasted environmental, safety, and hazardous materials “rules to watch”—our full breakdown of the Fall 2023 Unified Agenda is available at 

New EPA PFAS Regulations to Watch in 2024

Several recently and soon-to-be proposed EPA regulations will (if enacted) create or revise requirements for the management, disposal, release, or cleanup of so-called "forever chemicals"—per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 

New EPA PFAS regulations in the proposal or planning stages for 2024 include rules that would: 

  • Add nine PFAS to the list of "hazardous constituents" under RCRA. This could affect ongoing and future cleanup and remediation projects. Details.

  • Create a national drinking water standard for two common PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS under the Safe Drinking Water Act. PFAS are under consideration (as a category) for addition to the drinking water contaminant list as well. Details.

  • Add certain PFAS chemicals to the list of hazardous substances under CERCLA. Details.

Future PFAS actions will come as many in industry adjust to already expanded reporting responsibilities related to PFAS under programs like Chemical Data Reporting (CDR) and TRI reporting due later this year.

Manufacturers and importers of PFAS and PFAS-containing articles must also prepare and submit an electronic report by mid-2025 that details a 10-year "look back" period concerning these substances. More about new PFAS regulations.

Chemical Risk Management & Release Reporting

In addition to new chemical reporting rules related to PFAS in the works, EPA is already putting new risk management and chemical emergency preparedness requirements in place in 2024.

  • A Final Rule to amend the Clean Air Act Risk Management Program (RMP) for chemical facility emergnecy preparedness. The Final Rule covers 11,000+ RMP facilities, Details.

  • Revision to five risk management rules at 40 CFR 751 to further reduce exposures.

  • Consideration of whether to reinstate EPCRA emergency preparedness and/or reporting requirements for animal waste air emissions. 

Other Environmental Rules to Watch in 2024

EPA also plans to update and clarify provisions in 40 CFR to enhance overall compliance and understanding of the regulations with a rule this year. The Agency is also working on rules to establish a new Federal permitting program for the disposal of coal combustion residuals (CCR) and address CCR “legacy units” in the near future.

Chemical facilities should also be aware of rules to revise user fees and risk evaluation procedures under TSCA. 

Health & Safety Rules to Watch from OSHA

OSHA expected to publish a final rule in June 2023 to align the Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) with the seventh edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classifying and Labeling Chemicals (GHS) (RIN 1218-AC93).

After receiving feedback about several unclear provisions in the 2016 Walking-Working Surfaces rule, OSHA plans to revise some of the rule language and correct a formatting error in Table D-2 to clarify their intent. OSHA re-opened the rulemaking record in November 2023 (RIN 1218-AD28).

OSHA proposed to update its emergency response standards to reflect the full range of hazards faced by emergency responders and skilled support workers, as well as major changes in performance specifications for protective equipment. The proposed rule hit the Federal Register on February 5, 2024 (RIN 1218-AC91).

The Administration has been working on plans to modernize the standard for Process Safety Management (PSM) in 29 CFR 1910.119 to prevent future chemical accidents for over a decade. The rule is in the pre-rule stage, and OSHA’s plan was to analyze comments from stakeholders in November 2023 (RIN 1218-AC82).

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