Risk Management Program Overview
General Overview of Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act
Under the authority of section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act, the Chemical Accident Prevention provisions require facilities that produce, handle, process, distribute, or store greater than a threshold quantity of any listed toxic or flammable extremely hazardous substance to develop a Risk Management Program, prepare a Risk Management Plan (RMP), and submit the RMP to EPA. Covered facilities were initially required to comply with the rule in 1999, and the rule has been amended on several occasions since then, most recently in 2004.
Risk Management Program
The Risk Management Program (Section 112[r]) was created in response to major chemical accidents in Bhopal (see photo), India and Institute, West Virginia. The Bhopal accident killed thousands of people and the Institute accident injured hundreds. The goal of the Risk Management Program is to prevent major chemical accidents from causing disasters by establishing a prevention and response program.
Who is Regulated under the Program?
Firms that use or store a relatively large amount of a toxic or flammable chemical are the targets of this regulation. For this regulation, the EPA has created a list of regulated chemicals and corresponding thresholds. All facilities that store or use these regulated chemicals at or above threshold levels are regulated under the Risk Management Program.
General Duty Clause
There are three levels of regulation under the Risk Management Program. Program 1 is for firms that have relatively safe processes and low risk. Programs 2 and 3 are more highly regulated than Program 1. These Programs are meant for firms that have a higher risk of affecting the public in case of a chemical spill. All facilities that are listed under the Risk Management Program must complete a hazard assessment (consisting of an off-site consequence analysis and five-year accident history), implement an emergency response program, and submit a Risk Management Plan (RMP) to EPA. Most firms must also create a detailed accident prevention program that will help to prevent the accidental release of hazardous chemicals.
Four Sections of the Risk Management Program
- Offsite Consequence Analysis
In this section of the program, firms outline their worse-case and alternative accident release scenarios. The worse-case scenario is an unlikely scenario that describes the potential consequences of the release of the largest single vessel containing a regulated substance that produces the greatest offsite endpoint distance. The alternative scenario describes a more likely scenario for a release that could affect the public.
- Five-Year Accident History
A facility’s five year accident history describes all those accidents that have caused deaths, injuries, evacuations, sheltering-in-place, significant on-site or off-site property damage, or environmental damage significant on-site or off-site damage. As these criteria generally are associated with only the most serious accidents, many firms have accidental releases that are not reportable under the Risk Management Program. Only the most serious accidents are reported.
- Prevention Program
The RMP prevention program requirements are similar to the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Process Safety Management (PSM) standard program. Most RMP facilities must conduct operator training, implement written operating procedures, maintain equipment, and take other accident prevention measures.
- Emergency Response Program
In addition to the requirements listed above, all facilities must work with their Local Emergency Planning Committees and other local responders to ensure that local responders are prepared to respond to emergencies at the facility. Facilities must also have mechanisms in place to notify local responders when a release occurs. Facilities that choose to use their own employees to respond to accidental releases must implement additional emergency response program measures, including having an emergency response plan, emergency equipment procedures, documentation of first aid and emergency medical treatment needed to treat chemical exposures, and trained emergency responders.proper measures are taken when accidents occur.
All firms that house or use hazardous substances must work to prevent chemical accidents and to ensure the safety of the public and the environment. Firms regulated under the General Duty Clause must identify the risks related to the hazardous chemicals they have on site and take steps to avoid chemical accidents.