The EPA is proposing revisions to the accidental release prevention requirements under the Clean Air Act, otherwise known as the Risk Management Program (RMP), to prevent and reduce accidents and protect communities and first responders. According to EPA Connect, which notes that while numerous chemical plants operate safely, nearly 60 people died, approximately 17,000 people were injured or sought medical treatment and almost 500,000 people were evacuated or sheltered-in-place due to accidental releases at chemical plants in the past 10 years. More than 1,500 incidents were reported, resulting in more than $2 billion in property damages, according to EPA Connect.
The proposed amendments include:
- Requiring the consideration of safer technologies and alternatives by including the assessment of Inherently Safer Technologies and Designs in the Process Hazard Assessment.
- Requiring third party audits and root cause analysis to identify process safety improvements for accident prevention.
- Enhancing emergency planning and preparedness requirements to ensure coordination between facilities and local communities.
- Ensuring that emergency response capabilities are available to mitigate the effects of a chemical accident.
- Improving the ability of local emergency planning committees and local emergency response officials to better prepare for emergencies.
- Increasing public access to information to help the public understand the risks at RMP facilities, and increase community involvement in accident planning for when communities need to evacuate or shelter-in-place during an accident.
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