Process Safety Management

Stephanie McCauley

Safety Management

Process Safety Management

Welcome to Safe Friday, this week we’re going to cover the ins and outs of process safety managment. Whether you're an experienced professional, or new on the job, today we're going to offer something for everyone!

Process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals prevents or minimizes the consequences of catastrophic releases of toxic, reactive, flammable or explosive chemicals. These releases can result in toxic, fire or explosion hazards. This process addresses activities such as using, storing, manufacturing, handling or moving hazardous chemicals.

Employee Participation

Workers should be involved in identifying and analyzing workplace hazards and understand how they are informed about analysis results.

Process Safety Management Information

Ensure there’s written process-safety information that covers the hazardous chemical processes used in your workplace.

Operating Procedures

Companies must develop and implement written procedures that provide clear instructions for safely conducting activities in each covered process. The procedures must be accurate, clearly written and revised periodically to make sure that they reflect current operations.

Training Documentation

Each worker involved in operating a process needs to receive and understand the training required by the initial training, the refresher training and other training documentation. Documentation should include workers who have been trained, their training dates and the method used to verify that they understood the training.

Initial Training

Workers already knowledgeable on an operating process can be certified in writing that they are able to perform their duties.

Working with Contractors

A contract-employee injury-and-illness log, covering contractors’ work in process areas, will be maintained. This requirement applies only to contract employees performing maintenance or repair, turnaround, major renovation or specialty work on or adjacent to a covered process.

Contract-Employer Responsibility

Contract employers need to document that their employees have received and understood the training required by the initial training, the refresher training and the training documentation. Contract employers must document the names of employees who have been trained, their training dates and the method used to verify that they understood the training.

Mechanical Integrity

Written procedures must be in place to ensure process equipment works properly and receives periodic maintenance.

Look for documentation of each inspection and test performed on process equipment. Records must include test date, the inspector’s name, a description of the activity and the inspection results.

Hot-Work Permit

A hot-work permit is required for hot-work operations conducted on or near a covered process. The permit must show the dates authorized for hot work and identify the equipment to be worked on.

Managing Change

To ensure workplace changes affecting chemicals, technology, equipment or facilities are handled safely, written procedures must be in place to manage modifications to equipment, procedures, raw materials and processing conditions other than replacement in kind.

Emergency Planning

Be aware of your company’s emergency plan. Written requirements should include the following:

  • Emergency-escape procedures and escape-route assignments
  • Emergency procedures for workers who operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
  • Emergency procedures to account for all workers after emergency evacuation has been completed
  • Worker rescue and medical duties
  • Instructions for workers reporting fires and other emergencies
  • The name of those responsible for managing the plan 

Use these safety guidelines to understand and enhance your role in process safety management.

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste consists of discarded substances that can harm humans, other living organisms or the environment. OSHA defines hazardous material as any substance that requires a Safety Data Sheet (SDS). The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard requires companies to have a written “Safety and Health Program” to protect employees who are exposed to hazardous waste, do hazardous-waste cleanup, or respond to hazardous-waste emergencies.

Hazard Communication

Ensures all employees know about the chemical hazards at the worksite, and how to protect themselves. A HAZWOPER program identifies the hazardous chemicals at the jobsite, explains the labels that are used on containers of hazardous chemicals, explains how to read a safety data sheet and provides training on the hazards before you start your job and when work processes change.

Emergency Response

Emergencies are unpredictable, but response can be effective with proper planning. Planning and coordinating with off-site responders will include decontamination procedures; personnel roles, lines of authority, and communication procedures; emergencies and how to prevent them; safe distances and places of refuge; site control and security; evacuation routes and procedures; emergency medical treatment and first aid; communication procedures; necessary emergency equipment, including PPE.

Training Requirements

Emergency-response training must be documented and cover the following topics elements of the response plan, procedures for handling emergencies, the necessary PPE, and how to recognize hazards.

For a Safety and Health Program to be effective we need to rehearse the plan’s procedures regularly and integrate the plan with the emergency response plans of local, state, and federal agencies. You should keep current with and review it frequently.

SDS Guidelines

Chemicals present a wide range of health and physical hazards. Millions of workers are exposed to hundreds of thousands of hazardous chemical products daily. All companies with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have a written hazard communication program. A company must make sure that all containers are labeled according to the Globally Harmonized Standard (GHS), and that employees are provided with access to Safety Data Sheets (SDS), which have replaced Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), and that training is provided for all potentially exposed employees.

The goal of a Hazard Communication Program is to make sure all employees understand the chemical hazards in the workplace, and how to protect themselves from chemical related illnesses and injuries.

A key part of a high quality Hazard Communication program is the maintaining of a file of Safety Data Sheets for all the hazardous chemicals we use, and to make sure our employees have the necessary training to understand the terminology contained in the SDS. Let’s review the key information contained in the SDS.

Product & Company Identification: The name of the chemical as it appears on the label; Manufacturer's name and address; Emergency telephone number; Date prepared and the signature of the preparer

Hazard Identification: Routes of entry; Emergency information, Labelling symbols; Potential health effects

Composition: The specific chemical identity, its formula and any common names it is known by; Lethal dose information of ingredients: its Chemical Abstracts Service number (CAS) that identifies the specific chemical

First Aid Measures: Emergency first aid procedures

Fire Fighting Measures: Flash point; Flammable limits; Extinguishing media; Special fire-fighting procedures; Unusual fire and explosion hazards

Accidental Release Measures: Leak and spill cleanup procedures

Handling and Storage: Precautions to take in handling and storing

Exposure Control & PPE: OSHA permissible exposure limits (PELs); American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACHIH), Threshold Limit Value (TLV); Specific engineering controls and PPE requirements

Physical/Chemical Properties: Boiling point; Vapor pressure; Vapor density; Solubility in water; Appearance and odor; Specific gravity; Melting point; Evaporation rate

Stability and Reactivity: Stability; Incompatibility; Reactivity conditions; Hazardous decomposition or by-products

Toxicological Information: Effects of acute and chronic exposure; Toxicological effects; Carcinogenicity; Signs and symptoms of exposure; Medical conditions severely aggravated by exposure

Ecological Information: Effects of the chemical on the environment

Disposal Information: Proper methods of disposal

Transport Information: DOT or other organizations shipping requirements

Regulatory Information: OSHA, WHMIS, OHS and EPA classification information

Other: Any additional information required by law or provided by the manufacturer

Remember, when exposed to chemicals, always take the time to review the SDS and familiarize yourself with the hazards, safe handling and proper First Aid measures associated with the chemical.

Emergency Chemical Spill Response

In the event of a chemical spill, the person who caused the spill is responsible for cleaning it up. It’s also their responsibility to have clean-up materials and equipment readily available. For these, and other safety reasons, it’s very important to know the properties of the chemicals you work with or handle. Use the SDS sheets on each chemical to learn about the level of protection required, proper handling and cleanup of chemicals used. Let’s review the guidelines for responding to emergency chemical spills.

Materials & Equipment for Cleanup

  • PPE: Chemical resistant gloves, aprons, footwear, and splash proof eye/face protection. You should only use respiratory protection if you’ve been trained, approved, and fit tested for proper and safe use
  • Absorbents: spill socks, vermiculite, or clay (kitty litter) can be used to contain and soak up spills
  • Containers: Approved plastic bags can be used to collect absorbents on small spills. Five-gallon pails or 20-gallon drums with liners may be appropriate for larger quantities
  • Pick-up equipment: a brush and scoop, or broom and shovel, for picking up contaminated absorbent material
  • Neutralizers: made for acid or alkalines, many show a color change when neutralization is complete
  • Detergents and cleaning supplies: to thoroughly clean surfaces of any residual chemical

Handling Chemical Spills

  • If the chemical is hazardous and in an enclosed area, immediately alert room occupants and evacuate the area, if necessary
  • If there is a fire or medical attention is needed, contact 911
  • Attend to anyone who may be contaminated. Contaminated clothing and jewelry must be removed. Immediately flush the skin with water for at least fifteen minutes. Get medical attention and provide information on the chemical to medical personnel. Check the SDS for any delayed or residual effects. Clothing must be laundered before reuse
  • If a volatile or flammable material is spilled, immediately warn everyone in the area, control sources of ignition and ventilate the area
  • Don personal protective equipment as appropriate to the hazards (Refer to the Safety Data Sheet or other references).
  • If the spill is large, if there’s been a release to the environment, or if no one knowledgeable about spill clean-up is available, call 911
  • Never enter a contaminated atmosphere without protection or use a respirator without approval and training. If you need to use a respirator, be sure there is another person outside the spill area in communication in case of an emergency
  • Contain the spill as soon as possible with a row of absorbents. Protect floor drains or other means from environmental release. Spill socks and absorbents can be placed around drains, as needed
  • Loose spill control materials should be distributed over the entire spill area, working from the outside, circling to the inside. This reduces the chance of splash or spreading of the spilled chemical. Bulk absorbents and many types of spill pillows may not work for every chemical. Make sure the spill cleanup materials are appropriate to the chemical
  • When spilled materials have been absorbed, put the materials in a container with a broom and scoop or shovel
  • If the spill is on outside soil, use a shovel to dig up any contaminated earth. Dispose of the contaminated dirt with the absorbent material to prevent the chemical from entering ground water
  • Label container(s) with hazardous waste stickers listing the contents as Spill Debris containing the chemical name
  • Remember that using an adsorbent doesn’t alter the chemical properties of that chemical
  • Decontaminate the surface where the spill occurred using a mild detergent and water

Check with the local EPA office or local fire, police, or health departments for disposal instructions of hazardous waste, and directions to a suitable disposal site.

We have complete OSHA process safety management and compliance solutions for all your needs. Call (877) 640-6571 today to speak with one of our highly skilled safety experts.

Please join us next Friday for more OSHA safety and compliance tips!

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