The EPA has announced that it will be conducting inspections of all facilities regulated under the Risk Management Program (40 CFR 68) over the next ten years. The inspections will be tiered, with facilities that have reported accidents and those that use high risk chemicals (such as chlorine and ammonia) among the first to be inspected.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in conjunction with the Massachusetts State Emergency Response Commission, recently held two workshops on the Risk Management Program regulated under 40 CFR 68. This regulation requires owners and operators of facilities that manufacture, use, store, or otherwise handle more than a threshold quantity of a listed regulated substance in a process, to implement a Risk Management Program and submit a Risk Management Plan (RMP) to the EPA.
Of particular note, it was announced at the workshops that the EPA would be conducting inspections of all facilities subject to 40 CFR 68 over the next ten years. The criteria for selecting the order in which facilities will be inspected will be based on the following factors:
• Previous accident history of the facility • Accident history for other facilities in the same industry • Quantity of RMP-regulated substance onsite • Proximity to public and environmental receptors • Presence of specified regulated substances (e.g., chlorine, ammonia) • Hazards identified in the RMP or • A neutral, random oversight scheme.
The purpose of the inspections is to ensure that facilities are continuing to implement their Risk Management Program as required and that their RMP is correctly updated to account for changes in facility management and the covered process. As a result of the inspection, a facility may be required to revise its RMP and correct deficiencies in its underlying Risk Management Program.
Are you prepared?
The Risk Management Program requires facilities to conduct audits of their programs once every three years and to submit an update of their RMP to the EPA once every five years. The results of the audit are to be documented in a findings report which must list any items requiring updates or corrections. The facility is required to provide documentation that each of the items identified in the audit report were appropriately addressed or corrected. Facilities are required to maintain copies of the two most recent audit reports for EPA review during an inspection. Risk Management Program elements that are often cited as missing, poorly documented, or deficient in inspections include:
• Operating Procedures • Employee Training • Incident Investigation • Process Hazards Analysis • Management of Change • Pre-Startup Review
To prepare for an EPA inspection, facilities should make sure that they have completed their three audits as required and that all items identified in the audit reports have been appropriately addressed. Facilities should also make sure that any applicable program elements, such as those listed above, are reviewed and updated as required.
If you have any questions regarding the Risk Management Plan regulation, or would like additional information on how to prepare for an inspection, contact Lynn Sheridan at 508.970.0033 x122 or email@example.com.