Get ready: You’ll soon be required to report accidental chemical releases to the federal government.
That’s the upshot of a recent notice of proposed rulemaking published by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) in the Dec. 12 Federal Register.
Under the rule, facilities must report unintentional chemical releases that result in a fatality, a serious injury, or substantial property damage.
The release must be reported to the CSB or to the National Response Center within four hours. Among other things, the report must include
• a brief description of the incident
• the name of the chemical that was released
• whether the release resulted in a fire, a death, an explosion, property damage, or serious injury
• the number of fatalities or injuries
• the volume of the release
• whether the release led to an evacuation order
Court order: Even though the Clean Air Act of 1990 required the CSB to develop a release-reporting rule, the agency is moving forward now only because it was ordered to do so by a court earlier this year.
The judge gave the CSB one year to come up with a regulation, which means the rule is supposed to take effect by Feb. 4, 2020.
What it means to you: Start identifying areas of your operation that are most likely to suffer a chemical release, and take steps to reduce the risks.
Violation of this rule will have significant consequences. If the CSB refers a company to the Environmental Protection Agency, the government has the legal authority to bring criminal charges against violators.
(From the Dec. 23, 2019 issue of OSHA Compliance News)