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What is Process Safety Management?

The major objective of process safety management is to prevent unwanted releases of HHC's into locations which could expose employees and others to serious hazards. An effective process safety management program requires a systematic approach to evaluating the whole process. Using this approach the process design, process technology, operational and maintenance activities and procedures, non-routine activities and procedures, Emergency Action Plans and procedures, training programs, and other elements which may impact the process are all considered in the evaluation. The various lines of defense that have been incorporated into the design and operation of the process to prevent or mitigate the release of an HHC need to be evaluated and strengthened to assure their effectiveness at each level. Process safety management is the proactive identification, evaluation and mitigation or prevention of an HHC releases that could occur as a result of failures in process, procedures or equipment.

The process safety management standard targets highly hazardous chemicals that have the potential to cause a catastrophic incident. This standard as a whole is to aid employers in their efforts to prevent or mitigate episodic chemical releases that could lead to a catastrophe in the workplace and possibly to the surrounding community. To control these types of hazards, employers need to develop the necessary expertise, experiences, judgment and proactive initiative within their workforce to properly implement and maintain an effective process safety management program as envisioned in the OSHA standard. This OSHA standard is required by the Clean Air Act Amendments as is the Environmental Protection Agency's Risk Management Plan. Employers who merge the two sets of requirements into their process safety management program will better assure full compliance with each as well as enhancing their relationship with the local community.



The synopsis of the Process Safety Management that we have detailed for each one of the fourteen elements of PSM were designed to act as a guide to assist employers and employees in complying with the requirements of OSHA 1910.119, as well as provide recommendations and information needed to meet regulatory elements of the code. Although the opinions presented here do not represent the only means of achieving the performance goals in the standard, they do outline the primary responsibility of employers and employees under  the PSM program. 


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