Search

OSHA's Narrowed PSM Retail Exemption Now On Hold

Posted on 11/1/2016 by James Griffin and Roger Marks

In a regulatory interpretation issued July 22, 2015, OSHA narrowed the exemption from its Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard for retail facilities. Before this memo was issued, OSHA’s PSM “retail exemption” applied to facilities that “generate more than 50% of their income from direct sales of chemicals to end users.” 

In the July interpretation, OSHA narrowed the PSM exemption to include only those facilities that fall into the NAICS definition of retail trade (NAICS codes 44 and 45). This action was taken in part as a response to the April 2013 ammonium nitrate explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas and the subsequent Executive Order to improve chemical safety (EO 13650)


Narrowed Retail Exemption Put on Hold

The new interpretation would have taken effect last month. However, since OSHA updated its interpretation of “retail” under the PSM Standard, industry groups including the Agricultural Retailers Association and the Fertilizer Institute had filed suit to stop the Agency from enforcing PSM compliance at facilities that no longer meet OSHA’s definition of “retail.”

Last month, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled against OSHA. This means that the narrowed interpretation of “retail” is on hold, at least for now. For the foreseeable future, the old version of the PSM retail exemption will still apply for facilities that “generate more than 50% of their income from direct sales of chemicals to end users.”

OSHA PSM chemical process tank

What Is Process Safety Management?

OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard at 29 CFR 1910.119 is a set of requirements for managing hazards associated with “processes” that involve highly hazardous chemicals. The PSM requirements apply to employers who operate processes that use designated hazardous chemicals in amounts that exceed given thresholds.

How Does OSHA Define “Employer” and “Process”?

Under the PSM Standard, “employer” has the usual OSHA meaning of every private business or non-profit institution that employs employees. In states authorized to oversee an OSHA State Plan, “employer” also includes government entities and their employees.
Under the PSM Standard, a “process” can mean any of the following with respect to highly hazardous chemicals:
  • Use
  • Storage
  • Manufacturing
  • Handling
  • On-site movement

What Chemicals Are Covered Under OSHA’s PSM Standard, and What Are the Thresholds?

Two kinds of chemicals trigger OSHA's PSM Standard:

  • Any chemical listed as a highly hazardous chemical in Appendix A to the PSM Standard (29 CFR 1910.119)

Threshold quantities set in Appendix A range from 15,000 lbs. for methyl chloride and some ammonia solutions down to 100 lbs. for sarin, ozone, and methyl hydrazine.

  • Any other flammable liquid or gas

Threshold quantities for other flammable liquids and gasses are generically set at 10,000 lbs.

Exceptions from OSHA's PSM Standard 

Exceptions from OSHA's PSM Standard are available for:

  • Retail facilities, but only if they’re purely retail, as discussed in recent fact sheets
  • Remote facilities of any kind that are normally unoccupied
  • Oil and gas well drilling and servicing operations
If you operate a covered process or fulfill the criteria above, then you are subject to OSHA’s PSM Standard and must take the steps necessary to comply.

Protect Your Workers with OSHA 10-Hour Training

Your employees are everything. Keep them safe with reliable, effective online OSHA safety training at Lion.com. The 10-Hour OSHA General Industry Online Course will help your employees identify workplace hazards, work safely, and protect their coworkers. Enroll your team now to defend your business against injuries, lost time, and liability!   

Tags: new, osha, process safety management, rules

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

As always, Lion never disappoints

Paul Resley

Environmental Coordinator

Given the choice, I would do all coursework this way. In-person courses go very fast without the opportunity to pause or repeat anything.

Ellen Pelton

Chemical Laboratory Manager

The instructor was very patient and engaging - willing to answer and help explain subject matter.

Misty Filipp

Material Control Superintendent

Lion's course was superior to others I have taken in the past. Very clear in the presentation and the examples helped to explain the content presented.

George Bersik

Hazardous Waste Professional

Lion does a great job summarizing and communicating complicated EH&S-related regulations.

Michele Irmen

Sr. Environmental Engineer

I was recently offered an opportunity to take my training through another company, but I politely declined. I only attend Lion Technology workshops.

Stephanie Gilliam

Material Production/Logistics Manager

The course was very informative and presented in a way that was easily understood and remembered. I would recommend this course.

Jeffrey Tierno

Hazmat Shipping Professional

The training was impressive. I am not a fan of online training but this was put together very well. I would recommend Lion to others.

Donnie James

Quality Manager

Excellent class, super instructor, very easy to follow. No rushing through material. Would like to take his class again.

Lawrence Patterson

EH&S Facility Maintenance & Security Manager

Best instructor ever! I was going to take my DOT training w/a different provider, but based on this presentation, I will also be doing my DOT training w/Lion!

Donna Moot

Hazardous Waste Professional

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Just starting out with shipping lithium batteries? The four fundamental concepts in this guide are the place to start.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.