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OSHA Memorandum Addresses its PSM Retail Exemption Policy

In a memorandum dated April 30, 2018, OSHA detailed its enforcement policy regarding the retail exemption in its process safety management (PSM) standard. The PSM standard does not apply to “retail facilities,” but that term is not defined. Due to a September 23, 2016 decision of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned a previous OSHA memorandum interpreting the term, OSHA will not issue citations under the PSM standard for employers in the following North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes: 424510 – Grain and Field Bean Merchant Wholesalers; 424590 – Other Farm Product Raw Material Merchant Wholesalers; 424910 – Farm Supplies Merchant Wholesalers.
OSHA still intends to enforce other applicable standards at these facilities, such as 29 CFR 1910.109(i) (storage of ammonium nitrate), 29 CFR 19101.111 (storage and handling of anhydrous ammonia), 29 CFR 1910.120 (hazardous waste operations and emergency response), and 29 CFR 1910.1200 (hazard communication). For other industries subject to the PSM standard, OSHA has directed its compliance officers to exercise enforcement discretion in according with the following except from the preamble to the standard: With respect to the exclusion of retail facilities … OSHA believed that such facilities did not present the same degree of hazard to employees as other workplaces covered by the proposal. Therefore, OSHA should not require a comprehensive process safety management system in addition to other applicable OSHA standards addressing flammable and combustible liquids, compressed gases, hazard communication, etc., for retail facilities… Certainly highly hazardous chemicals may be present in [retail] … operations. However, OSHA believes that chemicals in retail facilities are in small volume packages, containers and allotments, making a large release unlikely. OSHA received few comments disagreeing with the exemption of retail facilities (e.g., gasoline stations). OSHA has retained the exemption in the final rule.

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