Tag: RMP (page 1 of 4)

PSM is a Thief!

The view that PSM is a time-sink.

A common push-back from facilities that are covered under the OSHA PSM and EPA RMP regulations is the sheer amount of resources these programs require to successfully design, implement, and maintain.

One phrase, seared into my memory, is from a frustrated and over-burdened maintenance manager: “PSM is a thief!”

He was referring to the fact that he had to task high-performing, highly trained and highly compensated personnel to perform Process Safety tasks. Time spent on Process Safety is obviously time that isn’t spent elsewhere.

My counterpoint at the time was “Safety isn’t earned – it is rented. And the rent is due every damned day

After an experience I had last week, I think there’s a better way to respond. I’d like to share my new response with you, but first let’s talk about the experience that made me see a new way of approaching this issue.

 

The experience

During the recent RETA conference the guest speaker was Jóse Matta. Jóse suffered ammonia burns over 40+ percent of his body when a condenser failed in an overpressure event. The event involved a portable ammonia refrigeration system. Before transport the system is drained of ammonia. In this incident, the driver placed a cap on the relief valve outlet due to DOT concerns. However, once the unit arrived onsite, the capped relief valve wasn’t noticed. Eventually this led to an overpressure event once the unit was charged and started.

Jose Matta barely survived his exposure. He nearly died in the hospital. His wife was brought into the burn unit to say her final goodbyes to her husband – the father of their children. When he was lucky enough to survive, he had to endure multiple surgeries. He no longer has a sense of smell and can barely taste food. He no longer has the ability to sweat and has to constantly monitor his condition when it’s hot out to avoid heat-stress or heat-stroke.

 

What does Jose’s experience have to do with “PSM as a thief?”

Post-incident, several failures of the PSM program were noted:

  • Pre-Startup Safety Review failed to identify the capped relief.
  • SOPs and Training on startup either weren’t adequate to control the hazards, or weren’t followed.
  • Setup time and tight scheduling, location of safety showers, weren’t adequately addressed in the PHA.
  • The MI program didn’t ensure that the high-discharge-pressure interlock worked.
  • The technician and contractors at the site weren’t familiar enough to know there was a safety shower located in a nearby building.
  • The EAP didn’t provide adequate information to the facility or responders, leading to them delaying effective treatment.
  • There was no command system in place. Nobody called 911. Nobody took charge. Nobody met the responders when they arrived to explain what was going on.

If the Process Safety items above were properly in place, the incident either wouldn’t have happened, or the outcome would have been significantly better for Jóse.

You see, when I pushed back from the “PSM is a Thief” argument before, I was wrong. I should have agreed with that statement.

 

PSM *is* a thief. Yes, it takes resources, but it can also take a LOT more from you!

PSM can steal from you: the opportunity to nearly die in a chemical release.

PSM can steal from your family: the opportunity for tearful goodbyes.

PSM can steal from you: years of surgeries, painful rehabilitation, and diminished health.

 

Yeah, PSM is a thief. I’m plenty happy to have these experiences stolen from me and the people I work with.

Without Process Safety, people are taking risks without knowing they are taking them. NOBODY should have to do that.

If you want your Process Safety program to steal these experiences from your facility, your coworkers, your neighbors, and YOU, we can help!

OSHA Inspections – Video Daily Double

OSHA has posted a video on the “OSHA Inspection Process” to give you a general idea of what to expect during an OSHA inspection.

Don’t forget to watch our longer video on how to PREPARE for and MANAGE that inspection including what you can do AFTER it do deal with the aftermath!

If you need help preparing for, managing, or dealing with the aftermath of an OSHA or EPA inspection, please contact us.

Dealing with non-standard (non-routine) work in your Process Safety program

Occasionally we come across an issue we’ve customarily addressed, but never documented. Put another way: We realize we have a policy – even if an informal one – on how to deal with certain situations, but we’ve never turned that policy into a formal, written one.

It’s incredibly common to have these informal policies in smaller departments, or when a task is rare. You can usually identify them after-the-fact when you are told “That’s just the way we do things here. Everybody knows that.”

When we find these items in our Covered Processes, we should endeavor to document them. Today I’d like to talk about a big one: What do we do when the existing written procedures don’t match with the conditions or situations we are facing in our work. What written guidance are you providing to your Process Operators and Technicians on how to deal with this situation?

Every functioning Operations / Maintenance department has a policy – even if an informal, undocumented one – on how they deal with this issue.  

For years I’ve relied on the text in the SOP Written Plan concerning Temporary Operations:

The ammonia system is not operated in any temporary modes without a written SOP. If a component requires maintenance or replacement, that portion of the system is isolated and removed from service through a written SOP. Other Temporary Operations are handled through the MOC element which will ensure supervisory oversight. Temporary Operation SOPs are often via a written modification of an existing SOP in the form of an addendum.

This worked well, but it was a little bit obscure and (understandably) only thought to apply to SOPs themselves. That needed to change. What we’ve done to our system today, is formalized and documented guidance on how to deal with these non-standard / non-routine situations.

A new policy was placed in the RMP Management System Written Plan…

To ensure integration of this policy, the following text was added to the Operating Procedures (Implementation Policy: Using an SOP – Performing a Procedure, and Implementation Policy: Operating Phases, Temporary Operations) and Mechanical Integrity (Implementation Policy: Mechanical Integrity Procedures or MIPs) element Written Plans: “The Implementation Policy: Non-Standard Work. Addressing Conditions / Situations outside of existing Procedures found in the RMP Written Plan should be used when site/equipment/system Conditions or Situations are found to be different than those anticipated in the exiting written procedures.”

Are you handling non-standard / non-routine work well in your Process Safety program? If you are, and have a better idea, we’re always open to improvements. If you aren’t handling it well, perhaps you can implement the example above? 


For Inside-Baseball type people: This chart was inspired by the API RECOMMENDED PRACTICE 2201 Safe Hot Tapping Practices in the Petroleum and Petrochemical Industries, Chapter 4, Section 4.3.1, Figure 3—Example Decision Process for Authorizing Hot Tapping. Other than genericizing that flowchart to cover all types of work, I also made two large changes:

  • Routed the post “change conditions” step back to the start so we re-evaluate the existing procedure considering changed conditions/situations rather than short-circuiting back to the Management step.
  • Rewrote the flow/wording so that Condition Changes are preferred over mere procedural changes. The thinking was that we should prefer more engineering-type changes over administrative ones, where possible.

 

Hot Work – NFPA 51B–2019 and Magic Rooms

RAGAGEP is always changing and we have to ensure that our safety programs evolve to match the new / changed requirements. Tuesday I took a dive into NFPA 51B 2019, the standard for “Fire Prevention during Welding, Cutting, and Other Hot Work.” After reading through it, some changes were made to my base program. Here’s the section from my running “Change Log”

092419 – Updated both versions Hot Work Written Plans to deal with NFPA51B-2019.

  • Changed NFPA references to match new section numbers
  • Changed fire watch to 60-minute minimum per NFPA.
  • Updated master definitions file (in \01-RMP\ ) to include updated definition of Fire Watch and new definitions for Fire Protection System and Fire Monitoring.

To Implement:

  • Change out \01 – EPA RMP\Definitions – Glossary of Terms and Acronyms with 092419 version by using the appropriate MOC procedure.
  • Replace \09 – Hot Work\09 – Hot Work Permit Element Written Plan with 092419 version by using the appropriate MOC procedure.
  • Train all personnel involved in Hot Work about new 60-minute fire watch requirement. Document training per the written plan.

 

This is a fairly simple change. You may have noticed that there is a new section in the “Change Log” for each entry – a “To Implement” section that tells you how to modify your program if it was written based on the baseline templates. I’ve gone back through the last month’s changes and added this information. Time willing, I might do the same for the previous 100+ entries!

While we are on the subject of Hot Work though, I want to bring up another common issue: “Designated Areas.” This is a particularly “Hot” topic right now, because a recent large industrial fire was caused by Hot Work and some people are saying it was an oil fire caused by Hot Work done in a “shop.”

Designated Areas: Many plants have “Designated Areas” such as maintenance or welding shops where Hot Work is conducted without the use of a permit. It should be noted that nothing in the PSM/RMP or OSHA General Industry rules (as interpreted through 1910.119(k)) appear to support this. For this reason, we’ve always called these areas “Magic Rooms” because people seem to think that these rooms are exempt from OSHA rules. The custom actually comes from NFPA 51B:

In the 2019 version, it is section 5.3.2.1 which allows for areas to be classified as Designated Hot Work areas. These areas would allow Hot Work without the use of the written permit provided certain requirements are met:

  • The specific area designed or approved for Hot Work meets the requirements of 5.5.1*
  • The area is reviewed at least annually by the Permit Authorizing Individual
  • Signs are posted designating Hot Work Areas
  • Prior to the start of the Hot Work, the operator verifies the following:
    • The location is verified as fire resistant.
    • The requirements of 5.4.2(3) are met so that the area is essentially free of combustible and flammable contents.
    • Fire extinguishers are in working condition and readily available.
    • Ventilation is working properly.
    • Hot Work equipment is in working order.

* Section 5.5.1 is the list of requirements that have to be met before issuing a Hot Work Permit. Essentially, you are making sure that the Designated Area meets the requirements for issuing a Hot Work Permit without actually issuing one.

The acceptability of this custom is in question due to a statement made by OSHA in their PSM Preamble:

“…this proposed provision would not require a permit for Hot Work operations in a welding shop unless the welding shop was located in a process area covered by the standard. OSHA believes that such a location would not exist.” (OSHA, PSM Preamble, 1992)

OSHA was clearly thinking of Petroleum and Chemical plants in that quote, where such situations are usually not found. As of 2019, we are not aware of any Ammonia Refrigeration PSM-covered facility receiving a Hot Work citation for Designated Areas if they follow the requirements of NFPA 51B Section 5.3.2.1. Still, it would be far more defensible if you issued Hot Work permits for all Hot Work, even that work conducted in maintenance and welding shops.

 

Here’s a look at the Hot Work element Written Plan section dealing with Designated Hot Work Areas:

Note: Previous discussion on Hot Work at this link. You can read the 2019 version of NFPA-51B in its entirety at NFPA.org

 

Questions from the field: Who is responsible for the PSM/RMP duties?

From a legalistic perspective, we’ll first turn to the law. In this case, the EPA’s RMP rule…

68.15(a) The owner or operator of a stationary source with processes subject to Program 2 or Program 3 shall develop a management system to oversee the implementation of the risk management program elements.

68.15(b) The owner or operator shall assign a qualified person or position that has the overall responsibility for the development, implementation, and integration of the risk management program elements.

68.15(c) When responsibility for implementing individual requirements of this part is assigned to persons other than the person identified under paragraph (b) of this section, the names or positions of these people shall be documented and the lines of authority defined through an organization chart or similar document.

The short, legalistic answer is that the owner/operator is responsible. They must pick a qualified person who has overall responsibility for the program.

If the owner then chooses to break up the various requirements of the program to people other than that qualified person, they have to document all those people. In my programs, I call these people a “Responsible Person.”

 

Ok, but how does this actually work. Let’s imagine a small facility that is required to have a PSM/RMP program. They pick their Safety Manager, Sofía as their Process Safety coordinator, so she is now the person responsible under §68.15(b).

But, Sofía, while very knowledgeable in Safety and Environmental issues, is not as familiar with refrigeration or engineering. It’s unlikely she’ll be in the best position to manage most of the program elements on a day-to-day basis.  To address this issue, the facility decides to assign certain skilled people the responsibility for various program elements. They assign the Operating Procedure, Operator Training and Maintenance elements to Robert, their Maintenance Manager. They also decide to assign the Process Safety Information, Management of Change and Pre-Startup Safety Review elements to Jaylen, their Plant Engineer.  Because he usually manages them anyway, they assign Benny, the Lead Operator, the Contractor element. Of course, all these people are going to rely on the knowledge and experience of each other, the Facility Manager John, and the other operators, Tessa, Faraz, and Tiah.

This might be getting a little confusing at this point, which is why §68.15(c) wants us to document these assignments. For example:

Program Element Responsible Person
Overall PSM / RMP Management System PSM Coordinator
Risk Management Plan (RMP) PSM Coordinator
Process Safety Information Plant Engineer
Employee Participation PSM Coordinator
Process Hazard Analysis PSM Coordinator
Operating Procedures Maintenance Manager
Operator Training Maintenance Manager
Contractor Qualification and Safety Lead Operator
Pre-Startup Safety Review Plant Engineer
Hot Work Permit PSM Coordinator
Incident Investigation PSM Coordinator
Mechanical Integrity Maintenance Manager
Management of Change (MOC) Plant Engineer
Emergency Response Plan PSM Coordinator
Compliance Audits PSM Coordinator
Trade Secrets PSM Coordinator

How a facility arranges the responsibilities is entirely up to them as long as they can make the case that the person assigned as a “Responsible Person” is qualified to handle the work being assigned to them.

On a practical level, your Management System should also:

  • Show what person is responsible for each PSM/RMP element / requirement
  • Ensure that only one person is responsible for each requirement
  • Make it clear that a Responsible Person can’t authorize their own work requests, such as Hot Work, MOC, PSSR, etc.
  • Be easily understood by everyone involved

Please note, that just because someone is responsible for an element, doesn’t necessarily mean they are actually doing the work. They are just responsible for ensuring the work is done. A good example outside of PSM is the facility manager of a chicken plant. That facility manager is responsible for ensuring that food safety regulations are met so the chicken is cooled in an appropriate time-frame. It is extremely unlikely that the plant manager actually handles the chicken, the cooling equipment, etc. They simply provide the resources and oversight to ensure the work is done properly.

A good PSM example might be Operating Procedures. In our case, we’ve assigned them to the Maintenance Manager. It is likely that the actual initial creation and review of the operating procedures is done entirely by the operators. Based on the results of that review, the Responsible Person would ensure that appropriate revisions are made and then certify the procedures.

Feel free to contact us If you want templates of a PSM/RMP management system.

Compliance Auditing and the Karenina Principle

Over the years I’ve audited well over one hundred Ammonia Refrigeration Process Safety (PSM / RMP) programs and one of the things that I always try and remember during the audit is something called the “Anna Karenina” principle. The first line in that Leo Tolstoy novel is:

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

 

Put another way: Success requires certain key factors are addressed. Meeting those requirements means that those successful systems will be similar to other successful systems. For Process Safety programs, there are many key factors to success, but I think they all boil down to three main categories:

  • Does the facility have a written Process Safety Program that (on paper) meets the safety & compliance requirements of the law, the process, and the people, in a manner that meets the business needs of the company? If so;
  • Is the written Process Safety Program implemented as written? If so;
  • In the actual day-to-day process, does the written Process Safety Program as implemented address the safety & compliance requirements of the law, the process, and the people, in a manner that meets the business needs of the company adequately?

I often call this the “Three Levels of Compliance.” Shown in a flowchart:

While there are nearly infinite ways a Process Safety program can fail, but ALL successful programs will pass these three levels of compliance checks. Understanding this concept will help you be a better auditor, but it can also help you be a better implementer!

 

In Auditing, how does this work in practice?

Let’s look at an example of an identified deficiency of rusted pipe found during the walkthrough portion of an audit. Note, we’ve kind of started at the 3rd level of compliance here because we’ve found a problem in the field and therefore know that the plan as implemented isn’t adequate!

First-pass question concerning written plan could include:

    • Are there written instructions on their inspection frequency and acceptable conditions?
    • Is there a written plan on training to perform these inspections?
    • Does the written Mechanical Integrity Plan address these specific pipes?

The answers to these questions will help you define a finding / recommendation to improve the program.

Second-pass questions concerning implementation could include:

    • Is the written Mechanical Integrity Plan that addresses these pipes being conducted when it is scheduled to be?
    • Are the written instructions being followed?
    • Was the inspector trained in accordance with the written plan?

Again, if the answers to these questions may prompt a finding / recommendation to improve the program. If you have a written MI plan and you are implementing it, but you still have rusting pipes; then you need to fix either the plan or your implementation of it!

 

How can this concept help me be a better implementer?

Your Process Safety Program is, by its very nature, artificially bringing order to chaos. Because of Entropy, we know that all systems and processes will eventually decline into disorder and fail. This decay happens with no effort on your part but, with effort, it can be thwarted.

Ultimately. I believe the only way to continuously, sustainably maintain your Process Safety Program is by forcing a feedback loop. A feedback loop is where you ensure that the output of a system is routed back to the input of the system. In our earlier worked example, we need to ensure that the output (physical condition, daily practices, etc.) of the system is routed back to the input (written plan and implementation of it) so we can know how well the system is performing and make changes as needed.

When it comes to the mechanical world, there is no better feedback loop that actual inspections and tests. If it is properly designed, your Mechanical Integrity program should be providing this information. Your team needs to understand that (no matter how small) every single deficiency you find, or breakdown that you have, is a sign that your plan can be improved.

When it comes to the operation of the system (policies, procedures, etc.) your PSM team is supposed to be providing this feedback. I say “supposed to be” because more and more I see that this important feedback loop is not being properly utilized. For more information on what the purpose of a PSM team is and what it should do see this earlier article: What is the purpose of a PSM Team?

What is the Purpose of a PSM Team?

The implementation of the PSM/RMP Program is a team-based effort. In my opinion, no single part of a Process Safety Program is more important than your Process Safety Team. Put another way: If you don’t have a strong Process Safety Team you won’t have a strong Process Safety Program.

 

Who should be on the Team?

At a minimum:

  • Each Responsible Person listed in the “Management System” is a member of the PSM team. Responsible Person’s are people that have responsibility for implementing individual elements of the Process Safety Program.
  • If not already included as a Responsible Person, all Process Operators are also included as PSM team members.

The team can also benefit from additional diversity such as senior members of management outside of Process Safety. Examples might include the Plant Manager or Director of Warehousing, Production Supervisors /Managers, Health, Safety & Environmental staff, etc.

 

What should the team do?

While a successful team serves many functions, it is there for two essential purposes:

  • To educate and inform
  • To provide oversight

 

Process Safety Team as an Educator

Your covered process and the safety programs that cover it are large and complex. So it the overall business that they are a part of. Our first priority in the meeting is to inform each other of what is happening in the parts of the program we deal with on a daily basis – or we are responsible for. This is often referred to as “getting everyone on the same page.”

 

Process Safety Team’s Oversight Role

The most often failed function of a Process Safety Team is to provide oversight. The Responsible Person for an element has to make day-to-day decisions to keep the process (and the business) running and we should ensure that they defend these decisions to the Process Safety Team so that the team can either validate or correct them.

For example:If the MOC Responsible Person decided that a specific change was not required to go through the MOC process, they should make that argument to the Process Safety Team which should either validate that choice or – as a group – convince the Responsible Person that their decision was in error so they can take corrective action.

Another example: The Responsible Person and two other staff members have completed an Incident Investigation on a small process leak that recently occurred. The Process Safety Team should either validate that completed Investigation or – as a group – convince the Responsible Person to investigate additional avenues, or provide addition recommendations.

This simple concept: Defend your decisions to a team of your peers so they can validate them or correct your thinking is the beating heart of any Process Safety Program. If you do it well, you provide a feedback loop, and the entire team will get better at their jobs. Whether it’s an Incident Investigation, a Management of Change, Contractor evaluations, etc., Validating your decisions with your Process Safety Team will improve the performance of the program more than nearly any other thing you can do.

 

Bonus Content: What should we discuss at our PSM meetings?

I am often dumbstruck when this question is asked of me, because I NEVER run out of things to talk about. (You can all stop laughing now)

While PSM Team Meetings should be structured to allow diverse topics and input, certain topics should be discussed at any general PSM Team Meeting:

  • Any open recommendations in the program to review status and ensure recommendations are progressing towards resolution.
  • Any upcoming, ongoing, or recently completed MOCs, PSSRs, Incident Investigations, etc. to review status and/or adequacy of documentation.
  • Any upcoming, ongoing, or recently completed work that has, or may have, safety ramifications for the covered process(es).
  • Team Validation of any decisions / work product produced by Responsible Persons

 

Note: Special thanks to end-users VD & CG who prompted me to include this information (and more) directly into my PSM Element Written Plans. We ALL improve with feedback!

 

IIAR 7-2019 Update

It’s been coming for a while now and yesterday it became official:

Introducing: ANSI/IIAR 7-2019Developing Operating Procedures for Closed-Circuit Ammonia Refrigeration Systems

In 2013, the first issue of IIAR 7 replaced the operations information contained in IIAR Bulletin No. 110, Guidelines for Start-Up, Inspection, and Maintenance of Ammonia Mechanical Refrigerating Systems.

This standard was first approved as an American National Standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in August 2013. ANSI requires reaffirmation or revision for periodic maintenance requirements of existing standards every five years. Work began on periodic maintenance of this standard in February 2017 and was completed in April 2019.

This standard defines the minimum requirements for developing operating procedures for closed-circuit ammonia refrigeration systems. Informative Appendix A was added to provide explanatory information related to provisions in the standard.

 

A little over two years ago, the SOP templates were updated to include all the requirements of IIAR 7 2013. That was a pretty large undertaking, but if you already made those changes, it looks like you are in good shape! I’ve reviewed the new IIAR 7 and it turns out we only need to make one substantive change to programs using the current templates.

 

What’s the requirement / change? 

The 2013 version required a visual inspection of hoses when they were used. This was a pretty minor requirement. The newer version requires that procedures include “Steps to inspect hoses and fittings visually to make sure they are suitable for ammonia refrigeration service”  whenever you Transfer (such as in pump-down) or Charge ammonia. To address this issue, I’ve modified the ROSOP-LEO and Permit form to include an explicit check and a reference to the “ITPMR-AHT-365 – Ammonia Transfer Hose Annual ITPM Record” we recently added due to IIAR 6.

So, if you’ve already updated your system for IIAR 6 compliance, then all you need to do is update your LEO procedure and Permit. If you haven’t updated your system for IIAR 6 compliance, then you need to integrate the new ITPMR as well as make plans to address the entirety of IIAR 6.

Note: Overall the 2019 IIAR 7 is much simpler than the 2013  version. It’s moved a lot of stuff to informative appendices which removes most of my complaints about it. Unfortunately they renumbered* just about every single requirement in the standard. This meant I had to completely renumber / rewrite my standalone SOP audit template. The good news is that the IIAR7-2019 version of that audit was reduced from 110 pages to 87. Of those remaining 87 pages of questions, 60 pages are due to IIAR 7.

* This was not an attempt to drive me closer to insanity, but an attempt to harmonize numbering systems between all the IIAR standards. I know this because I actually asked the IIAR about this. Thankfully, Tony Lundell has a good sense of humor.

One Hazard, Multiple Attempts at Control

Given the catastrophic nature of the hazards associated with PSM, the interrelationship of the PSM elements work together as a safety net to help ensure that if the employer is deficient in one PSM element, the other elements if complied with would assist in preventing or mitigating a catastrophic incident. Consequently, the PSM standard requires the use of a one hazard-several abatement approach to ensure that PSM-related hazards are adequately controlled. (OSHA, CPL 2-2.45A, 1994)

 

The text above, from OSHA’s old PQV (Program Quality Verification) audit is critical to understanding a key concept of successful Process Safety: The more ways you attempt to control a hazard, the more likely you are to be successful.

Sometimes this concept is referred to as the “Swiss Cheese Model.” I’ll quote from Wikipedia:

It likens human systems to multiple slices of swiss cheese, stacked side by side, in which the risk of a threat becoming a reality is mitigated by the differing layers and types of defenses which are “layered” behind each other. Therefore, in theory, lapses and weaknesses in one defense do not allow a risk to materialize, since other defenses also exist, to prevent a single point of failure. The model was originally formally propounded by Dante Orlandella and James T. Reason of the University of Manchester, and has since gained widespread acceptance. It is sometimes called the cumulative act effect.

To understand how this works in a functioning program, I want to point out how we recently addressed a single hazard in our program to show how many different ways we attempted to control it.

 

The hazard

 In IIAR’s upcoming standard 6 “Standard for Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Closed-Circuit Ammonia Refrigeration Systems” a hazard is identified and a prohibition is put in place to address that hazard:

 

5.6.3.4 Hot work such as the use of matches, lighters, sulfur sticks, torches, welding equipment, and similar portable devices shall be permitted except when charging is being performed and when oil or ammonia is being removed from the system.

 

The IIAR is recognizing that there is an increased likelihood of an Ammonia / Oil fire during charging operations and when oil / ammonia is being drained from the system. They are prohibiting Hot Work operations during these operations to remove potential ignition sources.

 

The Control(s)

You can make a (weak) case that simply referencing the RAGAGEP and inserting a single line in your Hot Work policy address the compliance requirement, but we’re going to need to do a lot more to make this prohibition a “real” thing in our actual operations.

 

Control Group #1: The Hot Work element

In the element Written Plan, we added two new “call-out’s” in the two places they are likely to be seen when planning Hot Work policies. First, in the section on Conducting Hot Work:

 

Second, in the section on Sulphur Stick use:

 

Third, in the Hot Work Permit itself, we modified the existing question on flammable atmospheres:

 

Control Group #2: The Operating & MI Procedures

All procedures that involve oil draining, ammonia charging and ammonia purging already point to the LEO (Line & Equipment Opening a.k.a. Line Break) written procedure. This makes our job a bit easier here, since we only have to modify our LEO rather than the dozens of procedures that might include this type of work.

We modified the traditional LEO “General Precautions section to place a check for Hot Work during an existing requirement to canvas the area for personnel that may be affected by the LEO:

 

In the more advanced, two-step “Pre-Plan and Permit” version of our LEO, we modified the “Pre-Plan Template” to include a warning:

 

In both versions of the LEO permit itself, we added an explicit check:

 

Closing Thoughts

This one small RAGAGEP change points to a single hazard – a hazard that we’re now trying to control in six different ways. Notice that we’ve made all these changes so they are popping up throughout the program:

  • In preparing policies for the associated work;
  • In the course of preparing for the work itself;
  • In the course of conducting the potentially hazardous operations.

This is critical because if we want to get the best “bang for our buck” in Process Safety, the safety portion has to be integrated into our actual processes on multiple levels.

Obviously, we’ll have to train on these changes to ensure that they’ll be effective. It’s quite possible that, after implementation, we’ll identify additional ways to prevent the hazard from being realized and will need to make further changes.

Responding to an OSHA NEP Inspection Document Request

Back in 2017 I posted on how to answer an OSHA document request from the published NEP.

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.

Recently, a friend sent me the Document Request they received at the onset of the inspection which was quite a bit different from that PSM ChemNEP. Here’s what I noticed reviewing this new document:

  • It’s quite a bit longer.
  • The information – again – isn’t NH3 Refrigeration Specific. That means you have to interpret some of it.
  • In my opinion, It’s designed to be a huge fishing expedition.

I took that request and modified it to show how I would answer the 110 questions if you were using my PSM programs. You can download the 13 page, 4,500 word Microsoft Word monstrosity through the following link: 0419 OSHA Document Request.

Just a few general warnings about questions and document requests:

  • When in doubt, ask for clarification. Always get clarifications in WRITING.
  • When you are unsure of the appropriate documentation to provide, or what documentation addresses the issue, ask to get back to them and seek quality advice.
  • Always get additional documentation requests and follow-up questions in WRITING.

Remember, you can watch a 30 minute presentation on YouTube regarding preparing for (and surviving) an OSHA / EPA inspection here.

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