What Is a Process Hazard Analysis and When Should You Do One?

When done correctly, a process hazard analysis identifies, evaluates, and controls the hazards found in processes that involve hazardous chemicals.

A process hazard analysis (PHA) is a set of organized and systematic assessments of the potential hazards associated with an industrial process in order to prevent and mitigate risks. When done correctly, a PHA identifies, evaluates, and controls the hazards found in processes that involve hazardous chemicals.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires PHAs to be updated and revalidated every five years. However, PHAs must be updated if aspects of your process change, including the addition or subtraction of equipment or hazardous substances or any change that could introduce a new hazard into the workplace.

Bad Process Safety = Bad Headlines

Every company wants to make headlines for great business practices, increasing profits, being recognized as an employer of choice, and being perceived as an asset to the … Read more...

It’s Time to Prepare for an OSHA PSM Inspection

Companies who are required to comply with OSHA’s Process Safety Management standard (1910:119) should be on high alert now that inspectors are being encouraged to complete more time-consuming, complex investigations.

The reason? OSHA’s new enforcement weighting system. Prior to this year, OSHA inspectors were measured on one primary metric: the number of inspections they completed. Logically, under this system OSHA inspectors were less likely to spend the time on a complicated and lengthy inspection, when they could complete several more straightforward inspections in the same period of time.

That’s now changing. Under OSHA’s new system each inspection is given a weighting, using a new measure called an Enforcement Unit (EU). Process safety management (PSM) inspections are now being given more weight than nearly all other types of inspections.… Read more...

Lessons in EHS History: OSHA’s Origins and 2014 Regulatory Outlook

As we toast to a Happy New Year, many of us will turn our thoughts to our resolutions for 2014. Typically the resolutions that most people make are related to personal goals: workout more frequently or spend more time with family, for example. But what kinds of resolutions might you make in your workplace? After all, estimates show that the average full-time American employee spends anywhere from 1,700 to 2,000+ hours at work each year.

You may want to look at OSHA’s “resolutions” for the upcoming year, to help guide your own workplace priorities. Not too long ago OSHA released its Fall 2013 regulatory agenda, which details the agency’s plans for new and revised regulations. In the words of the agency itself, “It is vital for an organization to know its past in order to successfully move itself forward into the future.” Let’s take a look at OSHA’s past, … Read more...