On March 1st, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the finalization of the Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention Rule that makes changes to the agency’s Risk Management Program (RMP). The move is the latest in a series of rulemakings related to RMP over the last 10 years and reinstates several requirements similar to those mandated by the Obama Administration and later rescinded by the Trump Administration. Key provisions include:

  • Third-party compliance audits: (1) Requiring the next scheduled compliance audit be a third-party audit when facilities have had an RMP-reportable accident. (2) Requiring a justification in the Risk Management Plan when third-party compliance audit recommendations are not adopted.
  • Root cause analysis: Requiring a formal root cause analysis incident investigation when facilities have had an RMP-reportable accident.
  • Employee participation: (1) Requiring employee participation in resolving process hazard analyses, compliance audit and incident investigation recommendations and findings. (2) Outlining stop work procedures in Program 3 employee participation plans. (3) Requiring Program 2 and Program 3 employee participation plans to include opportunities for employees to anonymously report RMP-reportable accidents or other related RMP non-compliance issues. (4) Requiring training on employee participation plans.
  • Natural hazards and power loss*: (1) Adding amplifying regulatory text to emphasize that natural hazards (including those that result from climate change) and loss of power are among the hazards that must be addressed in Program 2 hazard reviews and Program 3 process hazard analyses. (2) Requiring back-up power for release monitoring equipment. (3) Requiring a justification in the Risk Management Plan when hazard evaluation recommendations are not adopted.*
  • Facility siting: (1) Emphasizing that facility siting should be addressed in hazard reviews and explicitly defining the facility siting requirement for Program 2 hazard reviews and Program 3 process hazard analyses. (2) Requiring a justification in the Risk Management Plan when facility siting hazard recommendations are not adopted.*
  • Community notification of RMP accidents: (1) Requiring non-responding RMP facilities to develop procedures for informing the public about accidental releases. (2) Requiring release notification data be provided to local responders. (3) Partnering with local responders to ensure a community notification system is in place for notification of RMP-reportable accidents.
  • Emergency response exercises: (1) Requiring a 10-year frequency for field exercises unless local responders indicate that frequency is infeasible. (2) Requiring mandatory scope and reporting requirements for emergency response exercises.
  • Enhanced Information Availability: New requirements for the facility to provide chemical hazard information upon request to the public living, working or spending significant time within six miles of the facility, in at least two most common languages in the community. Under the previous regulation, facilities were not required to provide this information.

The compliance date for the new provisions in the rule will be three years after the effective date. GCCA will be holding a webinar later this spring to provide additional details for members on the regulation.

Published Date

March 11, 2024


Cold Chain Development, Government & Regulatory Affairs, Legal Issues


United States


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