Chemical Facility Safety: OSHA delays enforcement of new retail exemption policy
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December 29, 2015
Chemical Facility Safety: OSHA delays enforcement of new retail exemption policy

In the wake of Executive Order (EO) 13650, issued in August 2013 and titled Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, federal agencies have been working to modernize key policies, regulations, and standards, including EPA’s Risk Management Program (RMP) and OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM).

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As part of the updates to PSM, OSHA issued a memorandum revising its interpretation of the PSM standard’s retail facility exemption.  Agency letters of interpretation had expanded this exemption to cover any establishment the derived more than 50 percent of its income from direct sales of highly hazardous chemicals.  The agency has rescinded these letters of interpretation, and now interprets this exemption to apply to facilities engaged in retail trade as defined by the current and any future updates to sectors 44 and 45 of the NAICS Manual. 

OSHA is exercising some discretion with enforcement actions and will be providing compliance assistance to facilities formerly covered by the PSM retail facility exemption that are no longer exempt under the new interpretation.  Initially, OSHA had intended to delay enforcement of the new retail exemption until January 2016. However, on December 23, 2015, OSHA issued an interim enforcement policy stating that enforcement will be further delayed until after September 30, 2016.
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