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.