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OSHA Reinterprets Its Process Safety Management Standard Retail Exemption

On July 22, 2015, OSHA changed its interpretation of what qualifies as a “retail facility” under OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) standard retail exemption. OSHA estimates the reinterpretation of the exemption could potentially cover an estimated 5,000 additional facilities nationwide. The previous exemption, which had been in place for 20 years, defined a retail facility as one that receives 50% of its income from direct sales of PSM Appendix A chemicals to the end user. Under the new exemption, retail facilities are now defined as those with a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code within Sectors 44-45, Retail Trade. The new guidelines go into effect immediately.

On July 22, 2015, OSHA changed its interpretation of what qualifies as a “retail facility” under OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) standard retail exemption. OSHA estimates the reinterpretation of the exemption could potentially cover an estimated 5,000 additional facilities nationwide. The previous exemption, which had been in place for 20 years, defined a retail facility as one that receives 50% of its income from direct sales of PSM Appendix A chemicals to the end user. Under the new exemption, retail facilities are now defined as those with a North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code within Sectors 44-45, Retail Trade. The new guidelines go into effect immediately.

To provide an example, OSHA referenced West Fertilizer in West, Texas, which suffered an explosion in 2013 that killed 13 people. West Fertilizer was within the former PSM retail exemption due to selling directly to farmers.

Click here for a copy of OSHA’s interpretation.

Click here for an OSHA FAQ

If you have questions or concerns about whether or how OSHA’s PSM standard applies to your facility, please contact Connell Foley LLP.

  • Partner

    For more than 20 years, Steve Barnett has engaged in a wide-ranging litigation, regulatory, transactional and legislative practice for clients concerned with health, safety and the environment. He represents clients in CERCLA ...

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