MSDSonline - EH&S Compliance Made Simple

OSHA’s Appeal is Denied in PSM Exemption Case

Jan 10, 2017

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has denied OSHA’s appeal of a prior ruling that blocked OSHA’s ability to more strictly enforce its Process Safety Management (PSM) standard. This means that, in order to tighten PSM enforcement, OSHA may have to begin a new, formal rulemaking process — something that could take years to complete.

The PSM standard requires businesses handling, manufacturing, or storing large amounts of certain hazardous chemicals to take specific steps to prevent unexpected releases. In 2001, OSHA issued a letter of interpretation stating certain businesses could claim an exemption from the PSM standard if they dealt directly with farmers and/or sold chemicals in very small quantities. However, while this exemption was intended only for smallest-size retailers, there is evidence that large handlers of hazardous chemicals interpreted it to mean that they were also exempt from the PSM standard. For example, the West Fertilizer Co., which kept over 50,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia onsite, considered itself exempt from the PSM standard. After the West, Texas disaster, OSHA announced it would close what it considered a loophole in the PSM exemption and issued a revised interpretation of the exemption which specified that the exemption would now apply only to small facilities with North American Industrial Classification System codes of 44 and 45. However, OSHA did not follow notice-and-comment procedures when making this adjustment to the rule.

A court challenge was brought by industry groups contending that this adjustment essentially amounted to a new standard, and thus required a notice-and-comment period. A three-judge panel hearing the challenge agreed, and found against OSHA in September of last year.

After that ruling, OSHA submitted an appeal for a rehearing of the matter before the judges involved (also called an “en banc” hearing). This rehearing would have given OSHA another opportunity to make a case that its adjustment to the PSM enforcement did not constitute the creation of a new standard. It is that appeal for a rehearing which has now been denied. In its dismissal, the court did not provide any information as to why it was disinclined to hear further arguments from OSHA on the matter.

Now that the appeal has been denied, OSHA’s lone option for pursuing stricter PSM enforcement seems to be starting a new formal rulemaking process which includes soliciting input from stakeholders via a formal notice-and-comment procedure.

OSHA has not yet indicated how (or if) it intends to proceed.

No matter how you stand to be impacted by this development, a good chemical management system can help position you for compliance in the face of a changing regulatory climate. For example, the MSDSonline HQ Account can allow you to quickly cross reference chemicals against federal, state, and international regulatory lists to easily identify all compliance or reporting obligations. Management of ChangeCompliance Management, and Risk Analysis solutions from VelocityEHS can help you go even further, managing risks across your locations and facilities to take control of your organizational processes in the face of changing rules and regulations. We don’t know exactly what the future holds, but staying on top of your chemical safety is key to positioning your business for long term compliance and success.


Leave a comment
  1. muener | Mar 29, 2017
    I admit, I have not been on this web page in a long time... however it was another joy to see It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals. I thank you to help making people more aware of possible issues 0800 business lines
  2. sfgvasf | Mar 27, 2017

    <a href="">All Downloadable Things</a>
    [url=]Downlodable Torrents[/url]
  3. David | Mar 27, 2017
    [url=]download games[/url]
  4. David | Mar 27, 2017
    Mmm.. good to be here in your article or post, whatever, I think I should also work hard for my own website like I see some good and updated working in your site. <a href=>download games</a>
  5. muneer | Mar 27, 2017
    This is really great work. Thank you for sharing such a good and useful information here in the blog for students.  www.strø
  6. AGUNG FARMA | Mar 26, 2017
  7. muneer | Mar 26, 2017
    Thanks a lot for sharing us about this update. Hope you will not get tired on making posts as informative as this. helo 2 game free download
  8. Case Study Solutions Help | Mar 22, 2017
    Case Study Solutions Help Wonderful illustrated information thanks to you about that. No doubt it will be very useful for my future projects. Would like to see some other posts on the same subject i truly appreciate your work here
  9. muener | Mar 21, 2017
    Wow, this is really interesting reading. I am glad I found this and got to read it. Great job on this content. I like it. baby funny dance
  10. muener | Mar 19, 2017
    Just admiring your work and wondering how you managed this blog so well. It’s so remarkable that I can't afford to not go through this valuable information whenever I surf the internet! baby dance to songs
  11. ONE PIECE THOUSAND STORM Cheats | Mar 15, 2017
    i read a considerable measure of stuff and i found that the method for composing to clearifing that precisely need to say was great so i am inspired and ilike to come back again in future.. ONE PIECE THOUSAND STORM Cheats
  12. muner | Mar 08, 2017
    I think this is one of the most significant information for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, download torrent
  13. muener | Mar 04, 2017
    Good composed article. It will be steady to any individual who uses it, including me. Continue doing what you are doing – can'r hold up to peruse more posts.  beyonce instagram

    Leave a comment

    Follow Us


    “Flexible, convenient, easy to use and explain to the employees. Great time saver over the old paper system that had.  I am very happy with the experience; from building the file to the roll out to the employees.”

    Mike Fergurson, Cope Plastics, Inc