Process Safety Issues

For more information or updates, please contact the Government Relations Team at (202) 721-4100. 

Please also visit the Chemical Safety Board’s website

Hazard Communication (GHS, MSDS, ANSI) 

This umbrella issue encompasses the committee's work on a number of more specific issues, including changes to requirements for Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs), Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS), the ANSI Labeling Standard, and the ANSI Precautionary Labeling Standard for Hazard Industrial Chemicals.

Originally published in mid-2004, ANSI MSDS Standard Z400.1 was amended in 2010 to be consistent with the GHS format and OSHA Hazard Communication requirements. It was combined with the ANSI Labeling Standard for Hazardous Industrial Chemicals Z129.1, which establishes guidelines for the preparation of precautionary information on hazardous chemicals which are placed on container labels intended for industrial use. It also defines criteria necessary for assessing hazards that determine, which, if any, precautionary information should be placed on the label and other forms of labeling. The combined standard is now known as ANSI Z400.1/Z129.1-2010 Hazardous Workplace Chemicals – Hazard Evaluation and Safety Data Sheet and Precautionary Labelling Preparation.

The GHS is an initiative to promote common, consistent criteria for classifying chemicals according to their health, physical and environmental hazards, and to develop compatible labeling, safety data sheets for workers, and other information based on the resulting classifications. In July 2003, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) formally adopted the GHS.

Chemical Plant National Emphasis Program (NEP)

After conducting programmed inspections at high-risk refineries under a program called the Refinery National Emphasis Program (NEP), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) determined a need for programmed inspections at high-risk chemical facilities.

On November 30, 2011, OSHA announced the nationwide launch of its Chemical National Emphasis Program (NEP) for facilities covered by the agency’s process safety management (PSM) standard.

The NEP establishes policies and procedures for focused or “programmed” workplace inspections at sites randomly selected from a list of those likely to have highly hazardous chemicals in quantities covered by the PSM standard, and is intended to verify that employers are meeting the standard’s requirements. OSHA already conducts unprogrammed inspections at sites with reported PSM-related complaints, referrals, accidents or catastrophes.

OSHA’s full directive on the NEP is available here.

Reactive Chemical Hazards

As a direct recommendation from the U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board's (CSB) Morton Investigation Report, the CSB conducted a hazard investigation study on reactive chemicals. The objective of the study was to explore ways to reduce the number and severity of reactive chemical incidents. SOCMA testified at a public hearing held to discuss preliminary findings and conclusions in May, 2002. The CSB's final report, "Improving Reactive Hazard Management" was released in October, 2002.

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