EPA amends Risk Management Program rule for chemical facilities (Health & Safety Magazine)

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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.”

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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.

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