US workplace safety agency to work with chems

17 August 2007 00:21  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS news)--The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said on Thursday it expects to complete by year end detailed terms for a new process safety alliance with US chemical manufacturers and refiners.


A spokeswoman said the joint government-industry effort, tentatively titled the “OSHA and Process Safety Alliance,” will leverage the resources of several chemical and refining industry trade groups along with the administration to help improve process safety and prevent injuries and fatalities at industry work sites.


The alliance grew out of a meeting held in March this year in Houston, Texas, by some 25 refining and chemical industry representatives who were motivated in part by the 2005 refinery explosion at the BP Texas City, Texas, facility that killed 15 workers and injured 180 others.


The alliance with OSHA also expands and redirects an earlier chemical industry joint effort with the administration that was more narrowly focused on chemical reactive hazards. That alliance programme was concluded early this year, according to OSHA, so that the new joint operation could be reformed and focused more broadly on production process safety.


The earlier reactive hazards alliance with OSHA was composed chiefly of chemical industry interests, including the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (SOCMA), the Chlorine Institute (CI), the National Association of Chemical Distributors (NACD), the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) and the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center.


The new alliance will include those groups plus refining interests represented by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA). Other entities also may be participating.


Ron Chittim, senior refining associate at API, said earlier that the new process safety coalition was triggered in part because of the March 2005 disaster at the BP Texas City refinery.


“We want to find out what can be done to leverage the resources across our various organisations with the ultimate goal of improving process safety throughout the entire industry, refining and petrochemicals,” Chittim said.


OSHA spokeswoman Elaine Fraser said operational details of the new alliance with the process industry are being worked out and an agreement bringing the joint effort into being likely will be signed by participants before the end of this year.

By: Joe Kamalick
+1 713 525 2653

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