Answering the OSHA NEP Document Request List

OSHA’s published CPL-03-00-021 – “PSM Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program” includes an example document request list that often correlates fairly well to the one that OSHA inspectors provide during an NEP inspection. Below, I’ll outline how programs using our PSM system can answer those requests with PSM documents.

Table 1 – Documents That Should Be Requested Prior to Identifying the Selected Unit(s)

OSHA 300 logs for the previous three years for the employer and the process-related contractors*.

Documents regarding your OSHA 300 logs should be kept by your Safety Department. This is addressed in your Contractor Element Written Plan for the contractor and it’s likely your Safety Department.

All contract employee injury and illness logs as required by 1910.119(h)(2)(vi)*.

Most NH3 Refrigeration PSM facilities handle this with the contractor’s OSHA 300 logs.

A list of all PSM-covered process/units in the complex.

The vast majority of NH3 Refrigeration PSM facilities have a single covered process in the complex. If you have multiple processes on the same site, you likely handle / explain this fairly well in your RMP Hazard Assessment documentation.

A list of all units and the maximum intended inventories* of all chemicals (in pounds) in each of the listed units. Compliance Guidance: 1910.119(d)(2)(i)(C) requires employers to have process safety information (PSI) for the maximum intended inventories of chemicals that are part of their PSM-covered processes.

The inventory of the covered process(es) is in the PSI directory in a spreadsheet that shows the Inventory Calculation. Documentation regarding the Maximum Intended Inventory is handled in the PSI Element Written Plan.

A summary description of the facility’s PSM program.

The RMP Element Written Plan includes this information in general – individual Elements have information concerning that element in the Element Written Plan.  Showing the inspectors the procedural sections in the RMP entitled “Implementation Policy: Risk Management Prevention Plan” & “Implementation Policy: Management of Program Activities” has generally been more than sufficient to answer this question.

Unit process flow diagrams*.

Most NH3 Refrigeration PSM facilities handle this in the P&ID’s – possibly in conjunction with a Block Flow or Mass & Energy Balance.

Process narrative descriptions.

This is addressed in the beginning of the System ROSOP as well as in the individual equipment RESOPs.

Host employer’s program for evaluating contract employer’s safety information.

This is addressed in your Contractor Element Written Plan. Your documented use of forms CQ1-CQ4 should provide adequate information to answer the question.

Host employer’s program/safe work practices for controlling the entrance/exit/work of contractors and their workers in covered process areas.

This is addressed in your Contractor Element Written Plan. Likely, it redirects you to the facility Safety / Risk Management policies.

Emergency Action Plan* (If the employer has 10 or fewer employees they may communicate the plan orally (29 CFR 1910.38(b)) — i.e., they may not have a written emergency action plan; and Emergency Response Plan* if the facility is also required to comply with 29 CFR 1910.120(q).

This is generally handled by your Safety Department as it is a “general industry” requirement.

Host employer’s program for periodically evaluating contractor performance.

This is addressed in your Contractor Element Written Plan. Your documented use of form CQ6 should provide adequate information to answer the question.

Table 2 – Documents That Should Be Requested After the Selected Unit(s) Are Identified

Piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs) including legends*.

Your P&ID collection will include title sheets that satisfy the requirement for legends.

Unit electrical classification documents*.

The vast majority of NH3 Refrigeration PSM facilities cover this in a stand-alone letter provided in the PSI directory. That letter will reference your IIAR RAGAGEP stating that the system is “unclassified” or an “ordinary location.” Your electrical classification is contingent on an accurate and compliant Ventilation calculation which should be in your PSI directory.

Descriptions of safety systems (e.g., interlocks, detection or suppression systems)*.

Safety systems (e.g., interlocks, detection or suppression systems) are covered in each individual RESOP for each individual piece of equipment.

Design codes and standards employed for process and equipment in the Selected Unit(s).

The vast majority of NH3 Refrigeration PSM facilities cover this in a stand-alone letter provided in the PSI directory. That letter will document which RAGAGEP you’ve chosen and it also provides a place for you to certify it.

A list of all workers (i.e., hourly and supervisory) presently involved in operating the Selected Units(s), including names, job titles, work shifts, start date in the unit, and the name of the person(s) to whom they report (their supervisor).

This information should be captured in the individual operator OT1 forms in the Training Element directory. You may have to supplement the OT1 forms with information from your HR department.

The initial process hazard analysis*(PHA) and the most recent update/redo or revalidation* for the Selected Unit (s); this includes PHA reports*, PHA worksheets*, actions to address findings and recommendations promptly*, written schedules for actions to be completed*, and documentation of findings and recommendations*. Compliance Guidance: Any PHA performed after May 25, 1987 that meets the requirements of 1910.119(e) may be claimed by the employer as the initial PHA for compliance purposes, see 1910.119(e)(1)(v).

The PHA is located in the Process Hazard Analysis directory. It is not generally our custom to “revalidate” PHA’s but to complete a new PHA (compliant with the IIAR Compliance Guidelines questions) during the 5yr “revalidation.”

Safe upper and lower operating limits for the Selected Unit(s)*.

Safe upper and lower operating limits are covered in each individual RESOP for each individual piece of equipment.

A list by title and unit of each PSM incident report; all PSM incident reports for the Selected Unit*.

Generally speaking, the Incident Investigations aren’t sorted by unit, but providing all the Incident Investigations that have been created over the document request period should suffice.

Contract employer’s safety information and programs (this will be requested from the host employer after it is determined which contractor(s) will be inspected).

This is addressed in your Contractor Element Written Plan. Your documented use of forms CQ1-CQ4 should provide some information to answer the question. In facilities that allow contractors to provide their own Safety Programs, you will need to be able to provide those programs as well as your evaluation of them. The vast majority of NH3 Refrigeration PSM facilities  do not allow contractors to use their own Safety Programs – instead requiring them to use the established facility Safety Programs.

Contractor employer’s documentation of contract workers’ training, including the means used to verify employees’ understanding of the training* (this will be requested from the respective contractor employer(s) after it is determined which contractor(s) will be inspected).

This is addressed in your Contractor Element Written Plan. Your documented use of forms CQ3-CQ4 should provide adequate information to answer the question.

Note: This older Post provides additional questions from a recent NEP inspection.

Updated MI / II Written Plan templates

The Mechanical Integrity and Incident Investigation Written Plans were updated this week to encompass the addition of an Acceptable Task Frequency Window. Essentially, this provides written guidance on task-scheduling slippage. The majority of the change is in the MI element:

Note that this written guidance directs you to the Incident Investigation element if you find that tasks are sliding outside the acceptable window. The only change in that element was to provide this schedule slipping as an example of an event that should be considered a Process Upset/Interruption.

A hat tip to the IRC at the University of Madison Wisconsin for bringing this idea to our attention in their excellent book Principles and Practices of Mechanical Integrity Guidebook for Industrial Refrigeration Systems. We’ve somewhat altered their suggested schedule and our integration into the standard template program wraps it into the Incident Investigation element to deal with those times that our tasks slip outside the acceptable task frequency window. 

As always, the updated Written Plans are available on the shared drive.

Update: Minor change made to the PHA Element Written Plan to correct a numbering issue. Thanks Mindy!

Preparing for a PSM/RMP Inspection

The most requested PSM/RMP presentation I give is on preparing for an OSHA Process Safety Management / EPA Risk Management Program inspection. I turned that presentation into a narrated video which is linked below.

IIAR 7 update now open for Public Review

November 10th, 2017
To: IIAR Members
Re: First (1st) Public Review of Standard BSR/IIAR 7-201x, Developing Operating Procedures for Closed-Circuit Ammonia Refrigeration Systems.
A first (1st) public review of draft standard BSR/IIAR 7-201x, Developing Operating Procedures for Closed-Circuit Ammonia Refrigeration Systems is now open. The International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR) invites you to make comments on the draft standard. Substantive changes resulting from this public review will also be provided for comment in a future public review if necessary.

BSR/IIAR 7-201x, defines the minimum requirements for developing operating procedures applicable to closed-circuit ammonia refrigeration systems. It presupposes that the persons who use the document have a working knowledge of the functionality of an ammonia refrigeration system(s) and basic ammonia refrigeration practices and principles. This standard is intended for those who develop, define, or review operating procedures, or a combination thereof, for closed-circuit ammonia refrigeration systems. This standard shall apply only to stationary closed-circuit refrigeration systems utilizing ammonia as the refrigerant. It supplements existing general refrigeration standards issued by IIAR and other organizations such as ASHRAE, ASME, and ANSI. It is not intended to supplant existing safety codes (e.g., model mechanical or fire codes).

IIAR has designated the draft standard as BSR/IIAR 7-201x. Upon approval by the ANSI Board of Standards Review, the standard will receive a different name that reflects this approval date.

We invite you to participate in the first (1st) public review of BSR/IIAR 7-201x. IIAR will use the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) procedures to develop evidence of consensus among affected parties. ANSI’s role in the revision process is to establish and enforce standards of openness, balance, due process, and harmonization with other American and International Standards. IIAR is the ANSI-accredited standards developer for BSR/IIAR 7-201x, and is responsible for the technical content of the standard.

This site includes links to the following attachments:

The 45-day public review period will be from November 10th, 2017 through December 26th, 2017. Comments are due no later than 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST) on December 26th, 2017.

A quick review of the update shows no significant changes are necessary to the current stock templates.

ROSOP QA Update 110917

We recently updated the ROSOP-QA Quality Assurance template. Here are the changes:

  1. The wording in the NH3 Quantity section was simplified to avoid confusion.
  2. The Refrigerant-grade  specification was updated to reflect the IIAR’s interpretation letter concerning initial charge NH3 quality.
  3. A short section was added regarding maximum NH3 concentration.

The updated section (in picture format) is below. As always, you can access it through the Google shared drive.

Improvements made to the Employee Participation Written Plan template

For several years we’ve noticed that many facilities has an unwritten / informal policy regarding SWA or “Stop Work Authority.” What is SWA? Simply put, SWA is a formal declaration that employees have the right (and obligation) to stop unsafe work when they become aware of it.

While the safety culture at most facilities implies that employees have Stop Work Authority, it is rare to see a written plan that addresses it. Since we believe that SWA is a vital part of a functioning safety culture, we have written it directly into the Employee Participation element’s Written plan.

If you use our PSM/RMP templates, you will find the updated documents on the shared drive. Below is an excerpt of the policy section:

The Written Plan includes an explanation of each step in the process.  We’ve also included a poster to be used in the workplace:

Next PSM/RMP Class scheduled in Fort Worth, TX

Our next PSM class has been scheduled for February 19th-22nd at the Courtyard (Marriot) Fort Worth West at Cityview in Fort Worth, Texas.

Let us help you better understand your Process Safety Management / Risk Management Programs!

Here’s what former attendees had to say about the class:

“With quite a lot of pre-existing PSM knowledge, I still came away with lessons learned.”

“…this class did a great job in explaining how the PSM system works.”

“…Helped me see the bigger picture of what is expected in a PSM/RMP program.”

“…covered the CFR as well as RMP & DHS.”

“The Common Failures sections were very helpful.”

“Very thorough… I won’t feel like I am fumbling in the dark anymore.”

“Engaging presentation of complex material. A valuable class”

“Very in-depth. Informative. Answered questions before I got to ask them!”

“I enjoyed the interactivity. A great deal of information but it didn’t feel overwhelming due to the pictures, videos, and stories which provided a deeper understanding than just lectures.”

“This book will be a reference for years to come!”

You can learn more about the class by downloading the PDF Brochure or on the PSM Training page.  You can REGISTER NOW!

As part of the class, you’ll receive our custom textbook which acts as an IOM (Installation, Operating and Maintenance) manual for your PSM program!


Heads up Texas and Louisiana facilities!

OSHA Resumes Regular Enforcement in Texas and Louisiana.

DALLAS, TX – On Oct. 10, 2017, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which had ceased most programmed enforcement actions following Hurricane Harvey, resumed normal enforcement throughout Texas and Louisiana.

Following Hurricane Harvey, OSHA provided compliance assistance and outreach to employers and workers in a number of counties and parishes in Texas and Louisiana. This action enabled OSHA’s staff to provide faster and more flexible responses to hazards facing workers involved in the cleanup and recovery operations. Thousands of crews and individual workers received job safety and health technical assistance. OSHA retained the right to inspection cases involving fatalities, catastrophic accidents, employee complaints, and employers who repeatedly exposed employees to serious hazards during cleanup and recovery operations.

“We are now able to resume regular enforcement operations in most of the impacted areas,” said OSHA’s Region VI Administrator Kelly Knighton. “For those areas most heavily impacted by Hurricane Harvey, we will continue to provide employers and workers with compliance assistance and outreach. We will be monitoring these areas closely, and as they transition from cleanup and recovery to normal operations so will OSHA’s enforcement.”


RAGAGEP Hierarchy in Application – A worked example

RAGAGEP (Recognized and Generally Accepted Good Engineering Practices/Principles) is extremely important to our Process Safety programs as it helps define the boundaries of what is (and isn’t) acceptable in our processes and our management of them. There seems to be some confusion in a significant portion of the industry as to how to practically apply RAGAGEP* so I thought a brief discussion (and worked example) might be useful.

Let’s say that we have multiple possible RAGAGEP’s for a single item – such as relief valve replacement schedule. Those multiple RAGAGEP’s may well have differing requirements so we will need to rank them to understand what we actually need to do. Here’s an example RAGAGEP listing from OSHA:

  1. Codes adopted by the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) such as IMC/UMC
  2. Consensus Standards such as IIAR or ASHRAE
  3. Non-consensus documents such as Pamphlets / Bulletins from industry organizations
  4. Internal Standards such as your corporate policy

What isn’t on that list is manufacturer’s recommendations and there’s a reason why. The things listed above set the RAGAGEP and the manufacturer’s recommendations can modify it.**

There are generally two ways to modify something: make it more or less restrictive.

More: In the event that the manufacturer gives you a recommendation that is more restrictive (conservative) than the RAGAGEP, you must*** accept that more restrictive recommendation.

Less: If the manufacturer gives you a recommendation that is less restrictive than the RAGAGEP, you can accept that less restrictive recommendation, but you will need to document why you believe that the manufacturer’s recommendation is superior to the existing RAGAGEP.

In a recent article, we discussed the replacement schedule for a relief valve that relieves back into the system. The codes reference the consensus standards, which in turn reference some non-consensus bulletins. The bulletin in question, IIAR B110 says that these valves are not subject to the 5yr changeout frequency that other relief valves are. Yet, we have an email from the manufacturer’s engineering department that still recommends the 5yr changeout schedule.

In this case, we have a disagreement between the non-consensus bulletin and the manufacturer’s recommendation. Put another way, we have a generic recommendation on relief valve changeout versus a manufacturer specific recommendation. Obviously, the manufacturer’s specific recommendation on their valves overrides the generic recommendation about all relief valves. Therefore, as long as we are going to use these specific valves, we need to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation. ***

*It’s important to understand that we’re talking about what RAGAGEP decision is the most defensible during an inspection / audit.

** In 1910.119(j)(4)(iii) manufacturer’s recommendations are explicitly called out in conjunction with good engineering practices to set inspection/testing frequency, but the point still holds true.

*** It’s theoretically possible that you can make the engineering case that you know more about the manufacturer’s equipment as it operates in your process than they do, so you can override their recommendation. One method that’s routinely used is to choose an alternative way to achieve the same goals – one where you can show the engineering rationale to prove your alternative is as safe or safer. A common example of that would be replacing the oil based on regular oil analysis rather than changing it out at a specific hour interval. Of course, such a change would have to be thoroughly documented through your Management of Change procedure.

Forklift Fatality

“A 58-year-old Hispanic lumberyard worker died on March 30, 2012, from crushing injuries received when a forklift driven by a coworker struck him. The lumberyard laborer was walking from his work area to the employee lunchroom. At the same time, and in the same area, a coworker was operating a forklift that was loaded with lumber. The forklift operator’s field of vision was limited because he was transporting the lumber “load-forward” and the load partially obscured his view. He did not see the laborer but stopped when he felt the forklift roll over something. He exited the cab and found the laborer unresponsive, lying near the left side of the forklift. The laborer was pronounced dead at the scene. The medical examiner identified head and thoracic injuries as the cause of death.”NIOSH FACE

This unfortunate incident is not Process Safety related, but MANY NH3 processes are located in Cold Storages and Food plants that have MANY forklifts. If YOU work in such a place, please share this information with your co-workers and Occupational Safety team. Hopefully, sharing it can serve as a reminder that you shouldn’t drive forklifts with an obstructed view.

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