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The Department of Industrial Relations has scheduled a Process Safety Management (PSM) advisory committee meeting to review proposed changes to Cal/OSHA’s PSM standard. The changes focus on strengthening regulatory oversight on California’s oil refineries.The two-day meeting is open to the public and will be held on Tuesday, September 16 and Wednesday, September 17 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Elihu Harris State of California Building’s 13th Floor Training Room, 1515 Clay Street, Oakland CA 94612.

DIR developed the draft regulatory proposal for a new PSM standard for the refinery sector in response to recommendations in a February report by the state’s Interagency Working Group on Refinery Safety.

“This advisory committee meeting is a pre-regulatory step in our ongoing efforts to strengthen oversight of refinery safety in California,” said DIR Director Christine Baker. “The proposed changes will provide a framework for anticipating, preventing and responding to refinery safety problems at the earliest possible point.” Cal/OSHA, the agency charged with enforcing workplace safety and health regulations, is the division of DIR which is leading the revision of PSM workplace safety requirements for refineries.

“I am pleased to see DIR take this important next step in accordance with the recommendations of the refinery safety working group,” said David Lanier, Secretary of the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, which includes DIR. “The proposed revisions and their thorough review reflects the administration’s ongoing commitment to improving refinery safety for workers and surrounding communities.”

In addition to proposing changes to existing PSM language, the draft proposal introduces new requirements in the following areas:

1) damage mechanism reviews
2) hierarchy of hazard controls analysis
3) human factors
4) management of organizational change
5) safeguard protection analysis
6) incident investigations
7) safety culture assessments

DIR’s notice of the proposed rulemaking along with the text of the proposed regulations have been posted online.

The draft proposal is part of an ongoing effort, coordinated by the Interagency Refinery Task Force, to improve the public and worker safety at the state’s oil refineries following the August 2012 explosion at Chevron’s Richmond Oil Refinery. The task force, headed by the California Environmental Protection Agency, was established to carry out the recommendations contained in the February report. In addition to the proposed PSM standard, the state has hired new inspectors to ensure that facilities are complying with health and safety laws.