The ammonium nitrate fire and massive explosion in West, Texas, killed 15 people and injured more than 250 others in 2013. (CSB photo)

OSHA Chief Calls for Higher Penalties

In his testimony before two Senate committees, Dr. David Michaels recommended indexing OSHA's penalties for inflation and increasing criminal penalties "to provide a credible deterrent."

Leaders of OSHA and EPA testified last week before two U.S. Senate committees about federal agencies' progress in strengthening regulations that apply to chemical facilities, based on the West, Texas ammonium nitrate explosion, as well as the DuPont chemical plant release in LaPorte, Texas, in November 2014, and other recent incidents.

The Senate HELP Committee and the Environment and Public Works Committee heard testimony from Dr. David Michaels, OSHA's chief, and Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator of EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, on Dec. 11. Michaels explained that OSHA is in the final stages of forming an alliance with the fertilizer industry and detailed how the agency plans to update its Process Safety Management standard.

He recommended indexing OSHA's civil penalties for inflation, saying they are "much weaker than those under the Clear Air Act's RMP program," which addresses similar hazards. He said indexing OSHA's penalties for inflation and increasing criminal penalties will "provide a credible deterrent."

Stanislaus' testimony covered federal agencies' progress in updating their regulations in the wake of the West explosion. He explained that EPA is developing online training modules for emergency planning committees to ensure they are prepared for chemical emergencies, as President Obama's Executive Order 13650 directed. The order was issued in August 2013 in response to the West incident.

Product Showcase

  • AirChek Connect Sampling Pump

    Stay connected to your sampling with the SKC AirChek® Connect Sampling Pump! With its Bluetooth connection to PC and mobile devices, you can monitor AirChek Connect pump operation without disrupting workflow. SKC designed AirChek Connect specifically for all OEHS professionals to ensure accurate, reliable flows from 5 to 5000 ml/min and extreme ease of use. AirChek Connect offers easy touch screen operation and flexibility. It is quality built to serve you and the workers you protect. Ask about special pricing and a demo at AIHA Connect Booth 1003. Read More

  • SwabTek® Cannabis Test Kit

    The SwabTek® Cannabis Test Kit is a single-use spot test designed for use in screening for cannabis compounds in any sample type or on any surface. The test is capable of identifying the presumed presence of cannabinoids in very small quantities, with a level of detection as little as 6 μg in mass. Learn more about the SwabTek® Cannabis Test Kit and the rest of SwabTek surface drug testing solutions through the webinar titled "Everything You Want To Know About Surface Testing" Read More

  • SECUPRO MARTEGO

    FOR HIGHEST DEMANDS. A cutting tool in which function and design go hand in hand. Meet the SECUPRO MARTEGO, our prize-winning squeeze-grip safety knife with fully automatic retractable blade for safety. • Ergonomically friendly trigger mechanism to engage the blade • Durable body made of aluminum • Safer alternative to fixed blade utility knives for general cutting tasks • 9 mm Cutting depth • Easy, tool free blade change Dimensions: L 6.10" L x 0.71" W x 1.91" H Weight: 3.70 oz Cutting Depth: 9 mm Read More

Featured

Webinars