OSHA penalties, Illinois explosion, and the CSB on PSM

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What’s going on in EHS this week? Find out with Safety at the Frontline!

Tune in on Mondays to get the latest safety news with Frontline’s podcast. We’re covering the top EHS news, along with some quick and useful tips, so you can stay safe and keep rocking on the frontlines.

OSHA increases maximum penalties

OSHA’s maximum penalties for serious and other-than-serious violations will increase from $14,502 per violation to $15,625 per violation. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations will increase from $145,027 per violation to $156,259 per violation. The new OSHA penalty amounts will become effective on January 17, 2023.

Explosion in Illinois chemical plant

Last week, a fire erupted at an Illinois chemical plant in LaSalle, Illinois, following an explosion that sent massive smoke plumes over the city.

The company said that the fire began in the plant’s shipping area and fire officials were able to contain the fire. All workers were evacuated and accounted for with no injuries. The chemical plant produced potassium used to treat drinking and wastewater. After the fire, a green-like substance fell on people’s homes, yards and cars. The EPA has been on the ground checking the air and water quality to determine if there are any concerning pollutants. As of Friday, no levels of concern have been noted.

CSB’s call regarding PSM

Last news of the week, in a recent report, the Chemical Safety Board calls on OSHA to provide guidance on the process hazard analysis element of its standard on PSM.

CSB makes 16 recommendations that are directed at OSHA, the EPA, the API, and a few other companies.

OSHA’s PSM standard requires employers to have safety programs that identify, evaluate and control hazardous chemicals. CSB calls for the recommended agency guidance to place particular focus on safe operating procedures during transient operations – including startup, shutdown, standby, and emergency – in facilities with processes covered by the PSM standard.