OSHA Releases New PSM Guidance for Oil Refineries

By Jeremiah Wooten, Managing Partner at Inspectioneering. September 13, 2017

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently released a new guide to help petroleum refiners comply with its Process Safety Management (PSM) standard (1910.119). "Since the PSM standard was promulgated by OSHA in 1992, no other industry sector has had as many fatal or catastrophic incidents related to the release of highly hazardous chemicals (HHC) as the petroleum refining industry," the document states.

In an effort to reduce these incidents, OSHA introduced the National Emphasis Program (NEP) in 2007, which was designed to verify whether refinery operators were maintaining PSM compliance. After reviewing the citations issued for violations of the PSM standard under the NEP, OSHA has discovered several common instances of non-compliance in the petroleum refinery industry, including many related to the following 5 areas:

Process Safety Information

Under the PSM standard, employers are required to compile written process safety information (PSI). The compilation of written process safety information enables the employer and the employees involved in operating the process to identify and understand the hazards posed. During inspections under the NEP, OSHA issued many citations for violations of the PSM standard related to the (1) RAGAGEP, (2) piping & instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), and (3) relief system design basis.

Process Hazard Analysis

A process hazard analysis (PHA) is an organized and systematic effort to identify and analyze the significance of potential hazards associated with the processing and handling of HHC. The PHA must be appropriate to the complexity of the process and must identify, evaluate, and control the hazards involved in the process. During NEP inspections, OSHA frequently found PHA deficiencies in (1) recommendation resolution, (2) facility siting, and (3) human factors analyses.

This content is free for registered users

Register today to read this article for free.

Create your free account and you'll also get access to:

  • Unlock one premium article of your choosing per month
  • Exclusive online content, videos, and downloads
  • Insightful and actionable webinars
Interested in unlimited access? VIEW OUR SUBSCRIPTION OPTIONS

Current subscribers and registered users can log in now.

Comments and Discussion

There are no comments yet.

Add a Comment

Please log in or register to participate in comments and discussions.

Inspectioneering Journal

Explore over 20 years of articles written by our team of subject matter experts.

Company Directory

Find relevant products, services, and technologies.

Training Solutions

Improve your skills in key mechanical integrity subjects.

Case Studies

Learn from the experience of others in the industry.


Inspectioneering's index of mechanical integrity topics – built by you.

Industry News

Stay up-to-date with the latest inspection and asset integrity management news.


Read short articles and insights authored by industry experts.

Expert Interviews

Inspectioneering's archive of interviews with industry subject matter experts.

Event Calendar

Find upcoming conferences, training sessions, online events, and more.


Downloadable eBooks, Asset Intelligence Reports, checklists, white papers, and more.

Videos & Webinars

Watch educational and informative videos directly related to your profession.


Commonly used asset integrity management and inspection acronyms.