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OSHA PSM Standard
Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals

The objective of 29 CFR 1910.119, the Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard, is to prevent the release of highly hazardous chemicals that could lead to a catastrophe in the workplace or the surrounding community.

The PSM Standard applies to any process where highly hazardous chemicals are used, stored, moved, handled, processed, or manufactured. These chemicals include:

  • Designated toxic or reactive chemicals listed by OSHA at or above their designated threshold quantity. Chemicals such as chlorine, sulfur dioxide, ammonia, nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, and hydrofluoric acid are included.
  • Flammable liquids or gases in quantities of 10,000 pounds or more in one location except for hydrocarbon used as workplace fuels.
View PSM affected chemicals by choosing one of the following.

The PSM Standard requires employers to develop a comprehensive program to identify and evaluate the potential hazards associated with the use of these chemicals, and to identify and implement measures for prevention of chemical releases that could occur as a result of failure in process, procedure or equipment. The PSM Standard is "performance based," and provides guidelines on what must be done, but does not specify how it must be done.

The PSM Standard consists of 14 elements that affected facilities must address. The elements are integral to a complete program and therefore exhibit some interdependency. They are:

The PSM Standard is the required prevention program for the Environmental Protection Agency's "Risk Management Program Rule" for Program 2 (modified) or Program 3 processes.

Although the primary focus of the PSM Standard is to prevent or minimize the consequences of releases of toxic, flammable, or explosive chemicals, the standard may exhibit other benefits. Integrated into operating and production schemes, potential benefits could include:

  • Written operating procedures to address productivity, quality and other aspects in addition to the required safety considerations.
  • Formal maintenance programs, addressing perhaps predictive as well as preventive maintenance.
  • Training programs addressing safety, productivity, quality and other process consideration

PSM Technical Services, Inc. can help you develop and implement the requirements of this standard, and assist your staff in achieving more than just compliance to a regulation.


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