Washington – The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized amendments to its Risk Management Program rule in an effort to improve chemical process safety and keep first responders safer.
The amendments aim to:
- Prevent catastrophic incidents by improving incident prevention program requirements
- Enhance emergency preparedness to ensure coordination between facilities and local communities
- Improve information access to help the public understand the risks at RMP facilities
- Improve third-party audits at RMP facilities
“This rule is based on extensive engagement with nearly 1,800 people over the last two and a half years,” Mathy Stanislaus, EPA assistant administrator for the Office of Land and Emergency Management, said in a Dec. 21 press release. “These changes are intended to protect the lives of emergency responders and the public, while preserving information security.”
Over the past 10 years, RMP facilities have reported more than 1,500 incidents that resulted in nearly 60 deaths, more than 17,000 injuries, almost 500,000 evacuated or sheltered-in-place situations and more than $2 billion in property damage.
The amendments, announced in February, were prompted by an Executive Order directing government agencies to improve chemical facility safety in the wake of a 2013 fertilizer facility explosion in West, TX, that killed 15 people, including several first responders.
At press time, the final rule had not yet been published in the Federal Register.