GCAP is always looking to improve our PSM training program and consultation services. One of the tools we use is to request information from OSHA and the EPA under the Federal “Freedom of Information Act” which is often referred to as a FOIA request. In 2012 (at great expense) we used this tool to get the citation information for all PSM citations from 2008-2011. In 2013 we filed additional FOIA’s to get all 2012 citations. We don’t just get the citations themselves, but the documents behind them that show the reasoning behind the citations including pictures, the inspector’s inspection narrative, etc. Obviously, we learned a lot about how OSHA and the EPA interpret the PSM/RMP standards from these FOIA’s and we’ve used that information in our custom textbook for our PSM class as well as source/working material for our NEP class.
Earlier this year, due to a FOIA we read an inspector quote from OSHA course book “3430 – Advanced Process Safety Management in the Chemical Industries.” We’ve long known of this course, but it’s only available from the OSHA Training Institute and only allows OSHA inspectors to attend the class. The quoted line that drew our attention was this: “The loss of Ml due to external corrosion is the single biggest concern in industrial ammonia refrigeration components.”
We wondered – if OSHA is saying this in the course, what else are they saying? What was their source for this information? We again requested to be able to attend the course at our own cost and were turned down. GCAP’s Director of Compliance Services, Brian Chapin, recalled a court ruling that was referenced in the MEER decision (http://www.oshrc.gov/decisions/html_1997/95-0341.html) from the 1990’s from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Diamond Roofing v. OSHRC, 528 F.2d 645, 649 (5th Cir. 1976):
“An employer, however, is entitled to fair notice in dealing with his government. Like other statutes and regulations which allow monetary penalties against those who violate them, an occupational safety and health standard must give an employer fair warning of the conduct it prohibits or requires, and it must provide a reasonably clear standard of culpability to circumscribe the discretion of the enforcing authority and its agents….
If a violation of a regulation subjects private parties to criminal or civil sanctions, a regulation cannot be construed to mean what an agency intended but did not adequately express.”
We didn’t think that an OSHA course on how they interpret the standard could be refused under FOIA so we requested the coursebook from the course under the Freedom of Information Act. Jeremy Williams, Managing Director of GCAP stated: “They can’t rig the game like this – if we’re being held to certain standards, we should know what they are. Sure, this is a legal issue, but at the end of the day it’s about Process Safety – Safety being the key word here.”
Eventually OSHA approved our FOIA request and we received three books totaling about 500 pages.
Unfortunately, they had redacted quite a bit of the information we were actually interested in. One example is the Ammonia Refrigeration Processes and Equipment presentation which was of particular interest.
Slides that were redacted include titles like:
- Does PSM Apply?
- What About NH3 Refrigeration Processes < 10,000lbs?
- What are Signs of a Poor NH3 Refrigeration PSM Program?
- What Design Codes and Standards Could be Expected in PSI?
- Inspection RAGAGEP?
You can understand why we would want access to that information. OSHA had redacted it under provision 7(e) of the Freedom of Information Act. Provision 7(e) protects records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes the release of which could reasonably be expected to disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions. Essentially, they are arguing that if we knew what they were looking for we would be able to avoid citations.
Look, we at GCAP don’t necessarily disagree in that argument, but this same argument could be made to block any information requested about any citation at all! If they are looking for things because those things indicate a safety issue, then solving those things would alleviate the safety issue. Isn’t that what they are in business for? We don’t think citations should be the primary business that OSHA is in!
We’d rather have the problem solved by the PSM practitioner and refrigeration technicians to ensure the safety of the community and the employee BEFORE the odd OSHA inspection or chemical release. OSHA’s position seems to be that the information on these slides shows inspectors where there are gaps in a program but that information should only be known to the inspectors – not the people actually endangered by the process or the people in charge of ensuring its safety.
Is OSHA more interested in citations than employee safety? It certainly shouldn’t be – according to their own website (https://www.osha.gov/about.html) the reason that congress created OSHA was “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.”
Is hiding information that would show those operating a chemical process where there might be flaws in that process really how they intend to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women”? We at GCAP don’t think that’s right and we intend to appeal these redactions.
Look for an upcoming podcast where we discuss what we learned from the information they did provide including the answer to the original question: What was the source of that quote in the original citation?
Randy and Jeremy Williams of Garden City Ammonia Program, discuss one way to test the high level float of an ammonia refrigeration system. GCAP believes this is a critical test and must be performed part of the mechanical integrity portion of PSM/RMP requirements.
GCAP would also like to thank everyone involved in making 2012 GCAP’s best year. Next year we are celebrating our 10 year Reunion. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a successful 2013.
Brought to you by Garden City Ammonia Program
GCAP Compliance Audits: 2012 Lessons Learned
Garden City Ammonia Program has conducted close to 50 PSM/RMP compliance audits in 2012. We have learned a mass of information and continue to drive excellence in the ammonia refrigeration field. According the the EPA’s RMP submissions there are over 14,000 RMP facilities across the US that use one or more of the 140 chemicals that would require a PSM/RMP program. Over 7,500 of those happen to have ammonia over the 10,000# threshold.
GCAP’s PSM/RMP book is back from the printing press. It is titled “Implementing Process Safety Management for Ammonia Refrigeration” It can be acquired by taking one of GCAP’s PSM/RMP courses or may be purchased for $895.00 for more information give us a call at 620-271-0037.
The following is the Top 6 Findings across the Ammonia Refrigeration Industry.
Have your ever asked yourself these questions about your PSM/RMP program.
Who? What? When? Where? Why? And How?
If your not, OSHA and EPA will.
1. Who are the officials responsible for developing and implementing each of the program elements? Example Management System
2. What are the requirements and contents of each program element? Example Guidelines
4. Where have actions been implemented or changed?
5. Why have the implementation decisions and priorities been made as recorded in the PSM documentation?
6. How is the program implemented and how is the program’s effectiveness evaluated and improved (monitoring performance, follow up and closure of outstanding items, etc.)?
Brought to you by Garden City Ammonia Program
Jeremy Williams of GCAP interviews Rollie Shook and David Binder. Rollie is currently Chairman at National TRANSCAER(R) Task Group Global Emergency Services Leader at Dow Chemical and North America Emergency Services & Security Associate Director at Dow Chemical. David is currently Director, Quality, Safety & Regulatory Affairs at Tanner Industries. We talk about the TRANSCAER’S Anhydrous Ammonia Training Tour and free videos and powerpoints specifically to ammonia. TRANSCAER is also putting on free ammonia safety seminars across the United States.
If you have not visited their website and viewed this information GCAP is a proud supporter of their material. Please click on the their logo below to access their great information.
Jeremy Williams of GCAP Interviews Bryan Haywood of Safety Engineering Network. Bryan is founder and President of SAFTENG.net and an Adjunct Instructor at University of Cincinnati.
A safety professional with over 20 years of experience in safety and emergency response. During my career, Bryan developed, implemented, and managed chemical process safety management systems for five Fortune 500 companies, of which four facilities achieved OSHA VPP status. Bryan has held positions ranging from Safety Engineer to Corporate Safety and Health Manager with Westvaco, Great Lakes Chemical, General Electric Plastics, BFGoodrich Specialty Chemicals, and SUMCO Phoenix Corporation. Bryan has extensive experience with Emergency Planning and Response in Fire, HAZMAT, Confined Space, High-Angle Rescue. Bryan maintain all my certifications in these area and have obtained over 6,000 hours of technical training in Industrial Firefighting, Hazardous Materials and Technical Rescue (Confined Space, Trench, High-Angle), and Incident Command from recognized training organizations such as Texas A&M’s National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center, Louisiana State University Fire and Emergency Training Institute, U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy, Security and Emergency Response Training Center, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Nonproliferation Test and Evaluation Complex.
Incidental Release vs
|• Old Directive Number:||CPL 02-02-073|
|• Title:||Inspection Procedures for 29 CFR
1910.120 and 1926.65, Paragraph (q):
Emergency Response to Hazardous Substance Releases
|• Information Date:||08/27/2007|
|• Standard Number:||1910.120; 1910.120(q); 1926.65|
RELEASES OF HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES THAT REQUIRE AN EMERGENCY RESPONSE
The function of this appendix is to present a discussion of the distinction between incidental releases of hazardous substances and releases that require an emergency response, and, therefore, compliance with the provisions of 1910.120(q)., Emergency response program to hazardous substance releases.
An understanding of the distinction between an incidental release of a hazardous substance and a release that requires an emergency response is fundamental to proper compliance with the provisions of 29 CFR 1910.120(q). Emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of releases of, hazardous substances without regard to the location of the hazard, (29 CFR 1910.120(a)(1)(v)), was written to cover a wide array of facilities and situations.
Potential releases of hazardous substances in the workplace can be categorized into three distinct groups in terms of the planning provisions of 1910.120(q). These groups are:
1. Releases that are clearly incidental regardless of the circumstances.
2. Releases that may be incidental or may require an emergency response depending on the circumstances.
3. Releases that clearly require an emergency response regardless of the circumstances.
Releases that Are Clearly Incidental
The scope of the HAZWOPER standard does not cover the foreseeable release of a hazardous substance that is limited in quantity and poses no emergency or significant threat to the safety and health of employees in the immediate vicinity. This type of release is referred to as an “incidental release” in 29 CFR 1910.120(a)(3), under the definition of “emergency response.”
An incidental release is a release of a hazardous substance which does not pose a significant safety or health hazard to employees in the immediate vicinity or to the employees cleaning it up, nor does it have the potential to become an emergency within a short time frame. Incidental releases are limited in quantity, exposure potential, or toxicity and present minor safety or health hazards to employees in the immediate work area or those assigned to clean them up.
If the hazardous substances that are in the work area are always stored in very small quantities, such as a laboratory which handles amounts in pint size down to test tubes, and the hazardous substances do not pose a significant safety and health threat at that volume, then the risks of having a release that escalates into an emergency are minimal. In this setting incidental releases will generally be the norm and employees will be trained to protect themselves in handling incidental releases as per the training requirements of the Hazard Communication standard (HCS), 29 CFR 1910.1200.
Another example is a tanker truck receiving a load of HAZMAT at a tanker truck loading station. At the time of an accidental spill, the product can be contained by employees in the immediate vicinity and cleaned up utilizing absorbent without posing a threat to the safety and health of employees. As such, the employer may respond to certain incidental releases.
A third example of an incidental release may include maintenance personnel who are repairing a small leak that resulted from a routine maintenance activity and the small leak can be readily repaired; or the leak does not need to be taken care of immediately, i.e., the safety and health of the employees are not threatened if an immediate response is not initiated.
These situations describe an “incidental spill” under HAZWOPER. An incidental spill poses an insignificant threat to health or safety, and may be safely cleaned up by employees who are familiar with the hazards of the chemicals with which they are working.
Releases that May Be Incidental or Require an Emergency Response,
Depending on the Circumstances
The properties of hazardous substances, such as toxicity, volatility, flammability, explosiveness, corrosiveness, etc., as well as the particular circumstances of the release itself, such as quantity, confined space considerations, ventilation, etc., will have an impact on what employees can handle safely and what procedures should be followed. Additionally, there are other factors that may mitigate the hazards associated with a release and its remediation, such as the training or experience of the employees in the immediate work area, the response and PPE at hand, and the pre-established standard operating procedures for responding to releases of hazardous substances. There are also some engineering control measures that will mitigate the release that employees can activate to assist them in controlling and stopping the release.
These considerations (properties of the hazardous substance, the circumstances of the release, and the mitigating factors in the work area) combine to define the distinction between incidental releases and releases that require an emergency response. The distinction is site-specific and its impact is a function of the ERP.
For example, a spill of the solvent toluene in a facility that manufactures toluene may not require an emergency response because of the advanced knowledge of the personnel in the immediate vicinity and equipment available to absorb and clean up the spill. However, the same spill inside a furniture refinishing shop with personnel that have had only the basic hazard communication training on toluene, may require an emergency response by more highly trained personnel. The furniture refinishing shop’s ERP in this case would call for evacuation for all but the most minor spills, while evacuation and emergency response would be necessary only for much larger spills at the chemical manufacturing facility.
Personnel responding to an overturned aircraft leaking jet fuel would likely be performing emergency response due to the significant and uncontrolled hazards posed by the aircraft and jet fuel. These personnel would be conducting operations such as fire fighting, passenger rescue, and working to stop the release of jet fuel. However, a fuel spill from a tanker truck that can be absorbed, neutralized, or otherwise controlled by employees in the immediate release area through the placement of absorbent pads may qualify as an incidental release, provided that there are no significant health or safety hazards. (Note: If the release of jet fuel is covered by 40 CFR 300, the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), an employer may be required by the EPA to follow HAZWOPER.)
Releases that Require an Emergency Response
Regardless of the Circumstances
There are releases of hazardous substances that pose a sufficient threat to health and safety that, by their very nature, require an emergency response regardless of the circumstances surrounding the release or the mitigating factors. An employer must determine the potential for an emergency in a reasonably predictable worst-case scenario (or “anticipated emergencies,” 29 CFR 1910.120(q)(1)), and plan response procedures accordingly.
For example, a motor carrier is engaged in the transportation of HAZMAT. At the time of an accidental release, the product cannot be contained by employees in the immediate vicinity and be cleaned up utilizing absorbent. Because of the larger problem, the motor carrier’s employees evacuate the area and call for outside help, as instructed by the employer. In this instance, if a spill of a hazardous substance occurs and an employer instructs all of his/her employees to evacuate the danger area, then the employer may not be required to train those employees under 1910.120. However, the ability to decide whether a spill is an incidental spill or one requiring an emergency response requires training. Also, any employees who are expected to become actively involved in an emergency response due to a release of a hazardous substance are covered by 1910.120 and must be trained accordingly. (Note: OSHA has limited jurisdiction for over-the-road vehicle operation. In the instance of spills occurring while the material is on the vehicle or otherwise “in transportation,” OSHA’s HAZWOPER standard may not cover the operator in all circumstances. If the operator of the vehicle in transportation becomes actively involved in an emergency response, then he/she becomes an emergency responder and is covered by 1910.120(q) as are all emergency response personnel who respond to the incident.)
Generally, the release of anhydrous ammonia, for example, from a refrigeration unit would necessitate an emergency response under HAZWOPER. Employers must determine if there is a potential for release of ammonia in their facility which could result in an emergency situation. Anhydrous ammonia can produce severe health effects, depending upon the degree of exposure.
Another situation that would likely require an emergency response includes fire departments who receive emergency calls reporting a suspected release of a hazardous substance. The fire department should not knowingly dispatch a firefighter trained only under the HCS standard, or even trained to the “Awareness Level” to respond to a hazardous substance emergency response. For example, an emergency call involving the discovery of three 55-gallon drums on the side of a road that may be connected to a nearby methamphetamine laboratory would classify the situation as a potential emergency response requiring appropriately trained personnel.
An emergency response includes, but is not limited to, the following situations:
1. The response comes from outside the immediate release area.
2. The release requires evacuation of employees in the area.
3. The release poses, or has the potential to pose, conditions that are immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH).
4. The release poses a serious threat of fire or explosion (exceeds or has the potential to exceed the lower explosive limit or lower flammable limit).
5. The release requires immediate attention because of imminent danger.
6. The release may cause high levels of exposure to toxic substances.
7. There is uncertainty about whether the employees in the work area can handle the severity of the hazard with the PPE and equipment that has been provided and the exposure limit could easily be exceeded.
8. The situation is unclear, or data are lacking on important factors.
Responders from Outside the Immediate Release Area
“Emergency response” is defined in 29 CFR 1910.120(a)(3) as follows:
“Emergency response . . . means a response effort by employees from outside the immediate release area or by other designated responders (i.e., mutual-aid groups, local fire departments, etc.) to an occurrence which results, or is likely to result, in an uncontrolled release of a hazardous substance. Responses to incidental releases of hazardous substances where the substance can be absorbed, neutralized, or otherwise controlled at the time of release by employees in the immediate release area, or by maintenance personnel, are not considered to be emergency responses within the scope of this standard. Responses to releases of hazardous substances where there is no potential safety or health hazard (i.e., fire, explosion, or chemical exposure) are not considered to be emergency responses.”
The standard covers responses “by other designated responders.” The use of the word “or” means that responders are a separate group, different from employees outside the immediate release area, directed to respond to the emergency by the employer. Employees working in the immediate release area (not just outsiders) are covered if the employer designates them as emergency responders. The standard, 29 CFR 1910.120(q), uses the term “responders” generally to refer to employees who respond to emergencies.
SARA, the statute mandating HAZWOPER, directs broad coverage of all employees responding to emergencies with no limitation to their location. SARA states, “. . . standards shall set forth responding requirements for training of workers who are responsible for responding to hazardous emergency situations who may be exposed to toxic substances” (see SARA 126(d)(4)). For an emergency to be covered by the standard, conditions causing a dangerous situation which involve hazardous substances are sufficient; there need not be both an emergency and a response by outside responders before the employer prepares for an emergency.
For example, a release of chlorine gas above the IDLH level, obscuring visibility and moving through a facility, is an emergency situation even if the initial responders are from the immediate release area. Employees who would respond to this situation, whether they work in the immediate area or come from outside, would need to act in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.120(q).
Employees are not barred from responding to releases in the immediate release area that would otherwise require outside assistance from a trained HAZMAT team merely because the definition of an emergency response states that an emergency response is “. . . a response effort by employees from outside the immediate release area.”
Conversely, incidental releases of hazardous substances that are routinely cleaned up by those from outside the immediate release area need not be considered emergency responses solely because the employees responsible for clean up come from outside the immediate release area.
For example, Paint thinner is spilled in an art studio and the janitor is called from outside the immediate release area to mop it up. The janitor does not have to respond in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.120, although the janitor would be expected to understand the hazards associated with paint thinner through hazard communication training.
Other OSHA Standards
Other standards that impact emergency response to fires, chemical releases, or other incidents should be part of an emergency response compliance evaluation. Flammable chemical spills and other small fires are covered by 29 CFR 1910.156 as well as 29 CFR 1910.157. The “Process Safety Management for Highly Hazardous Chemicals,” standard, 29 CFR 1910.119, and the “Hazard Communication,” standard, 29 CFR 1910.1200, as well as some of the specific expanded health standards in Subpart Z would also apply (see Section XII.A. of this instruction).
Brought to you by
Garden City Ammonia Program
Jeremy Williams of GCAP interviews Gary Smith of ASTI (Ammonia Safety and Training Institute) about the importance of ammonia safety days and scheduled events for 2012.
ASTI has also created many different levels of sponsorship for the national and local level to support this great cause. ASTI SPONSORSHIP LEVELS
GCAP will host their 4th Annual Ammonia Safety Day May 11, 2012 at Kansas City, Kansas. Must pre-register to guarantee a seat and they are filling fast.
GCAP’s Ammonia Safety Day
May 11, 2012 in Kansas City, KS
Agenda Below: REGISTER BY CLICKING HERE
|7:15-8:00 am||Check-in||Continental Breakfast|
|8:00-8:15 am||Opening Remarks||Greeting, Introductions, & Overview by Randy Williams|
|8:15-9:00 am||Session 1||Emergency Events – Lessons Learned|
|9:00-9:30 am||Break||Exhibitor Review|
|9:30-10:20 am||Session 2||OSHA Update: Region 7, Dick Baily|
|10:20-10:45 am||Break||Exhibitor Review|
|10:45-11:35 am||Session 3||EPA Update: Region 7, George Hess and Jodi Harper|
|11:35 am–12:30 pm||Buffet Lunch||Exhibitor Review|
|12:20-1:50 pm||Session 4||Health & Emergency Medical – Proper Decontamination & Readiness for Transport|
|1:50-2:35 pm||Session 6||Ammonia Release|
|1:20-2:35 pm||Session 7||CHEM NEP Citations (GCAP)|
|2:35-3:00 pm||Break||Exhibitor Review|
|3:00-3:55 pm||Session 8||Valve and Piping Problems that Lead to Emergency Events|
|3:55-4:30 pm||Session 9||Panel Discussion|
|4:30 pm||Closing||Course Evaluation and Certificates|
Other Safety Days across the United States for 2012 are:
Controlled Liquid Ammonia Release: 1″ Line @ 100 PSIG
OSHA’s National Emphasis Program CHEMNEP is now the mandatory inspection process of all chemical facilities including ammonia refrigeration. GCAP has several podcast dedicated to NEP and NEP Citations. This podcast Jeremy Williams and Brian Chapin of Garden City Ammonia Program discuss with Max Lindsay of COMPSM issues arising in NEP inspections across the US.
3 words of the day.
Documentation, Documentation, Documentation!!!!
Implementation, Implementation, Implementation!!!!
Mitigation, Mitigation, Mitigation!!!!
If you have any question or comments please give us a call: 620.271.0037
If you would like to get hold of Max:
This podcast was brought to you by GCAPCoolCast: Division of Garden City Ammonia Program
Jeremy Williams of GCAP interview Marc Chasserot. Marc is the Editor in Chief of these natural refrigerant websites. Marc has over 10 years experience in following natural refrigerants throughout the world and his head quarters are based in Brussels Belgium. We will discuss in this interview several topics relating to natural refrigerants including the past, present, and future. Please listen to the podcast to learn more about natural refrigerants and how they are playing a great role in the future in industrial, commercial, and residential refrigeration.
Some topics include:
What countries are taking the lead in refrigeration?
Who is adapting to these changes?
What is the future growth of these refrigerants?
What are some of the best conventions to attend globally?
Small Charge Systems?
A new convention is coming to the United States during April 2012 in the Washington DC area. It will be called “Atmosphere America” and this convention will host anything about natural refrigerants.
United States Chemical Safety Board “CSB”
Jeremy and Randy Williams of Garden City Ammonia Program discuss the CSB findings of a propane explosion in 2007. Some factors to blame was unqualified technicians, unqualified training and inadequate training for when things may go wrong such as an emergency. We will compare their findings and recommendations to the industrial ammonia refrigeration industry.
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the agency’s board members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
The CSB conducts root cause investigations of chemical accidents at fixed industrial facilities. Root causes are usually deficiencies in safety management systems, but can be any factor that would have prevented the accident if that factor had not occurred. Other accident causes often involve equipment failures, human errors, unforeseen chemical reactions or other hazards. The agency does not issue fines or citations, but does make recommendations to plants, regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), industry organizations, and labor groups. Congress designed the CSB to be non-regulatory and independent of other agencies so that its investigations might, where appropriate, review the effectiveness of regulations and regulatory enforcement.
The CSB investigative staff includes chemical and mechanical engineers, industrial safety experts, and other specialists with experience in the private and public sectors. Many investigators have years of chemical industry experience.
Both accident investigations and hazard investigations lead to new safety recommendations, which are the Board’s principal tool for achieving positive change. Recommendations are issued to government agencies, companies, trade associations, labor unions, and other groups. Implementation of each safety recommendation is tracked and monitored by CSB staff. When recommended actions have been completed satisfactorily, the recommendation may be closed by a Board vote.
The CSB is currently investigating several ammonia accidents and deaths.
For more information on the CSB please visit their website at
Half an Hour to Tragedy Propane Explosion Video Below
South West Kansas charters for the NEW “Golden Plains” RETA Chapter
Pictured above from left to right: Chad Cook, Tom Nevarez, Tyler Ramos, Brian Chapin, Diane Chapin, Jeremy Williams, Andy Guebara, and not pictured is Randy Williams
This podcast Jeremy Williams, Brian Chapin, and Tyler Ramos discuss the first meeting to begin a charter for a new RETA chapter in South West Kansas. Two attendees became new RETA members. Meeting will be held every 3rd Thursday of each month.
- Different officer positions were discussed and the Responsibilities of each were distributed. With unanimous consent the following officer positions were elected:
o President – Brian Chapin
o 1st Vice President – Tyler Ramos
o 2nd Vice President – Tom Nevarez
o Treasurer – Jeremy Williams
o Secretary – Diane Chapin
o Sergeant at Arms – Randy Williams
For more information please contact us at 620-271-0037 or email at email@example.com