New OSHA guidance focuses on process safety management for petroleum refineries

Safety recommendations based on lessons learned

Posted August 29, 2017

OSHA recently published new guidance on Process Safety Management for Petroleum Refineries, the latest publication in the Agency’s stable of informative documents on the Process Safety Management (PSM) standard.

The new guidance presents lessons learned from the petroleum refinery process safety management National Emphasis Program (NEP). It focuses on areas of the PSM standard where OSHA issued the most citations during the NEP, including:

  • Process Safety Information (PSI);
  • Process Hazards Analysis (PHA);
  • Operating Procedures;
  • Mechanical Integrity (MI); and
  • Management of Change (MOC).

OSHA says that since the PSM standard was finalized in 1992, no other industry sector has had as many fatal or catastrophic incidents related to the release of highly hazardous chemicals as the petroleum refining industry. To address this situation, OSHA initiated the Petroleum Refinery NEP in 2007. The purpose of the NEP was to verify refinery employers’ compliance with the PSM standard.

After reviewing the citations issued for violations of the PSM standards under the NEP, OSHA found many common instances of non-compliance. Therefore, OSHA recommends refineries review these citations to ensure their own PSM program complies with the standard and to prevent tragic incidents involving the release of highly hazardous chemicals.


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