The EPA’s Risk Management Plan (RMP) regulation (40 CFR Part 68) was issued in multiple stages, beginning in 1994. The regulation was modeled after OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) standard (29 CFR 1910.119). The RMP regulation is about reducing chemical risk at the local level. The information from the RMP aids local fire, police, and emergency response personnel in responding to chemical accidents. It also helps citizens to understand the chemical hazards in their communities. The regulation has been left relatively unchanged since its issuance.
Under the regulation, companies of all sizes that use listed regulated flammable and toxic substances above threshold quantities are required to develop a Risk Management Plan and submit the plan to the EPA every 5 years. The RMP must include:
- Hazard assessment detailing potential effects of an accidental release;
- Previous 5 year accident history;
- Evaluation of worst-case and alternative accidental chemical release scenarios;
- Prevention program, including: safety precautions and maintenance, monitoring, and employee training measures;
- Emergency response program that spells out emergency health care, employee training measures, and procedures for informing the public and response agencies should an accident occur.
As a result of major chemical incidents, including the West Fertilizer facility explosion in West, Texas, President Obama signed Executive Order 13650: Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security on August 1, 2013. This executive order includes considering changes to existing chemical safety and security regulations. As a result of this order, EPA is proposing modernizing the RMP program. As part of this action, the EPA plans to conduct a Small Business Advocacy Review (SBAR) Panel for development of a proposed rulemaking to modernize the RMP program. The panel process offers an opportunity for small businesses, small governments, and small not-for-profit organizations to provide advice and recommendations to ensure that EPA carefully considers small entity concerns regarding the impact of the potential rule on their organizations.
If you are a small business, government, or organization that may be directly subject to this rule, you are eligible to serve as a Small Entity Representative (SER). Examples of small entities that may be RMP-subject include:
- Ammonia refrigeration facilities,
- Water and wastewater treatment plants (private or government-owned),
- Chemical manufacturers,
- Natural gas processing facilities,
- Petroleum refineries,
- Chemical and petroleum distributors, and
- Agricultural wholesale and retail facilities.
Individuals interested in serving as a SER may nominate themselves to serve. Nominations should be made no later than July 3, 2015. More information on the SBAR panel and SER nomination can be found on EPA’s website: http://www.epa.gov/rfa/risk-management-plan.html.