OSHA Narrows Application of PSM Retail Exemption

OSHA has clarified its interpretation regarding the exemption of retail facilities from compliance with its standard on Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (PSM). Keep reading to find out what’s involved and if your business might be affected.

Starting in January of 2016, OSHA will begin enforcing a change in its interpretation of which retail establishments are exempt from PSM requirements. When OSHA promulgated the PSM standard in 1992, it explained that chemicals in retail facilities (for example a gas station) are generally sold in small packages, containers, and allotments and as such, were not subject to PSM. After the standard was issued, OSHA issued various letters of interpretation and made statements that more broadly interpreted the exemption.

A new memo rescinds all of these prior interpretations and statements related to the retail exemption. OSHA now interprets the retail site exemption in keeping with its original intent and in reference to the NAICS Manual, which states, “Only facilities, or the portions of facilities, engaged in retail trade as defined by the current and any future updates to sectors 44 and 45 of the NAICS Manual may be afforded the retail exemption at 29 CFR 1910.119(a)(2)(i).”

Read more here.