Through advancements in science, engineering, and industrial design, the use of flammable, toxic, explosive, and reactive chemicals in industrial processes continues to become more common. In many cases, commercial and industrial processes utilize a wide variety of chemicals to support the development and manufacturing of products and services. Depending on the process and facility, large quantities of highly hazardous chemicals can be present onsite to support operating needs and process demands.
As quantities of highly hazardous chemical increase, careful consideration must be given to ensure hazards are controlled. When hazards associated with highly hazardous chemicals are not appropriately addressed, uncontrolled and unexpected releases can occur. When these incidents occur, they are not isolated to a specific industry or sector. Regardless of the industry that uses these highly hazardous chemicals, there is a potential for an accidental release any time hazards are not properly controlled, creating the possibility of a catastrophic or devastating incident.
To help ensure safe and healthful workplaces, OSHA issued the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals standard (29 CFR 1910.119). This standard contains requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using highly hazardous chemicals. Process Safety Management (PSM) is addressed in specific standards for both general industry and construction. OSHA's standard emphasizes the management of hazards associated with highly hazardous chemicals and establishes a comprehensive management program that integrates technologies, procedures, and management practices (OSHA, 2015). Through familiarity with the OSHA PSM standard and implementation where applicable, facilities can be better prepared to address hazards associated with processes using highly hazardous chemicals.