OSHA recently announced it has instituted an intense inspection effort called a National Emphasis Program (NEP) on 28,000 U.S. chemical plants. According to a recent article byBusiness & Legal Reports, the agency has mobilized over a third of its inspectors to enforce it.

According to BLR, the chemical plant NEP is the result of OSHA's Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board having found, in the course of a previous NEP on oil refineries, that the agency had neglected to perform a process safety management inspection on that industry in 10 years, and only four such inspections had been done in the chemical plant sector.

In 2005 focused on safety at refineries, following a well-publicized explosion at a Texas BP facility. According toChemical & Engineering News, OSHA has already inspected over half of the 100 refineries in its jurisdiction, exposing 212 violations and proposing over half a million dollars in fines.

Last year, OSHA launched an NEP on worker exposure to diacetyl, after the chemical was implicated in causing lung disease.

According to an OSHA release, inspectors will undergo three separate training regimens, and inspection each team will be led by someone who has done a process safety management inspection in the past.