The agency says the new regulations will reduce the likelihood of accidental releases at these sites and improve emergency response activities when those releases occur.
The rule is in response to the West, Texas explosion at a fertilizer plant that killed 15 people in 2013.
The amendments require some facilities that use and distribute hazardous chemicals to:
- Consider safer technologies and alternatives by including the assessment of Inherently Safer Technologies and Designs in the Process Hazard Assessment;
- Conduct third-party audits and root cause analysis to identify process safety improvements for accident prevention;
- Enhance emergency planning and preparedness requirements to help ensure coordination between facilities and local communities; and
- Strength emergency response planning to help ensure emergency response capabilities are available to mitigate the effect of a chemical accident.
In the last 10 years more than 1,500 accidents were reported by RMP facilities, according to the EPA. These accidents are responsible for causing nearly 60 deaths; some 17,000 people being injured or seeking medical treatment; almost 500,000 people being evacuated or sheltered-in-place; and more than $2 billion in property damages.