The EPA finalized and published its long-awaited amendments to the RMP Rule on December 21, 2016. Here are some of the highlights of what’s new.
Definitions EPA added a few new definitions:
Active measures mean risk management measures or engineering controls that rely on mechanical, or other energy input to detect and respond to process deviations. Examples of active measures include alarms, safety instrumented systems, and detection hardware (such as hydrocarbon sensors).
Inherently safer technology or design means risk management measures that minimize the use of regulated substances, substitute less hazardous substances, moderate the use of regulated substances, or simplify covered processes in order to make accidental releases less likely, or the impacts of such releases less severe.
Passive measures mean risk management measures that use design features that reduce either the frequency or consequence of the hazard without human, mechanical, or other energy input. Examples of passive measures include pressure vessel designs, dikes, berms, and blast walls.
Practicability means the capability of being successfully accomplished within a reasonable time, accounting for economic, environmental, legal, social, and technological factors. Environmental factors would include consideration of potential transferred risks for new risk reduction measures.
Procedural measures mean risk management measures such as policies, operating procedures, training, administrative controls, and emergency response actions to prevent or minimize incidents.
Root cause means a fundamental, underlying, system-related reason why an incident occurred.
EPA added language intended to expand training to those “involved” in operating a process rather than just those who operate a process. So people whose job title is not “operator” may also require training.
Paragraph §68.54(e) was added to require that supervisors responsible for directing process operations are also trained and tested to demonstrate they are competent in the operating procedures that pertain to their duties (as outlined in §68.54(a).
Program 2 and 3 facilities are still required to conduct compliance audits every three years. There were no changes to these requirements.
Third Party Compliance Audits
The new rules outlined in §68.58(f) and §68.79(f) require that a Third Party Compliance Audit be conducted only under certain conditions, when either 1) an RMP reportable release occurs (meeting certain requirements) or 2) as directed by the agency because of conditions at the stationary source that could lead to an accidental release of a regulated substance, or when a previous third-party audit failed to meet the competency or independence criteria of § 68.59(c).
The owner/operator must ensure that a third-party auditor meets the competency and independence requirements outlined in §68.59(c).
EPA did not adopt the requirement that a third-party auditor must have a PE because many other professionals are qualified to conduct compliance audits.
Third party auditors must certify, sign and date their reports.
Owners/operators must prepare an Audit Findings Response Report within 90 days of receiving the final audit report. This report must contain: 1) A copy of the final audit report, 2) an appropriate response to each of the audit report findings; 3) A schedule for promptly addressing deficiencies; and 4) A certification, signed and dated by a senior corporate officer (or equivalent).
The incident investigation section has been reworded to clarify that an incident investigation must be conducted for near-miss incidents.
It also clarifies that incident investigations must be conducted by a team, where at least one person “is knowledgeable in the process involved” and other persons on the team have “appropriate knowledge and experience to thoroughly investigate and analyze the incident.”
Process Hazard Analyses (PHAs)
EPA requires that findings from incident investigations and “other potential failure scenarios” be evaluated during the PHA. In the discussion section, “other potential failure scenarios” means “incidents that occurred at other similar facilities and or processes, failure mechanisms discovered in literature or from other sources of information.” EPA believes that owners and/or operators have the best ability to identify scenarios even if they did not occur at your facility.
The Rule requires certain Program 3 facilities to conduct a Safer Technology and Alternatives Analysis (STAA). Certain facilities include those in NAICS codes 322 - paper manufacturing, 324 - petroleum and coal products manufacturing, and 325 -chemical manufacturing. And it requires the facility to “determine the practicability of the inherently safer technologies and designs considered.”
A new section, §68.93 – Emergency response coordination activities, was added to the emergency response requirements. Facilities are required to:
coordinate with local emergency response officials annually and document coordination activities to ensure that appropriate resources and capabilities are in place to respond to an accidental release.
conduct tabletop exercises of a simulated accidental release of a regulated substance at lease every 3 years.
conduct field exercises that simulate an accidental release of its regulated substance with local emergency response officials at least every 10 years.
Facilities are also required to conduct Notification Exercises annually to verify that their emergency response notification mechanisms are in working order.
Evaluation reports of the tabletop and field exercises must be prepared within 90 days for each exercise and must contain lessons learned, recommendations for improvements and a schedule to address and resolve recommendations.
Availability of Information to the Public
The final rule requires facilities to make certain chemical hazard information, including an emergency response program summary, available to the public upon request.
Facilities must provide ongoing notification to the public, regarding this information, on a company website, social media platform or other publicly accessible means.
If a facility has an RMP reportable accident, it must hold a public meeting within 90 days of the accident.
Please note that EPA intends to publish guidance for certain provisions, such as STAA, root cause analysis, and emergency response exercises. Stay tuned!
Address 1991 Lakeshore Drive Suite C Muskegon, MI 49441