Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

OSHA Announces Retail Ammonia Subject to Additional Regulations

In a sudden announcement on July 22, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) announced that they will eliminate the "retail" exemption for chemical facilities that are currently exempt from the Process Safety Management (PSM) regulations.  Thus, PSM will now apply to retail anhydrous ammonia facilities.  This was not done via normal regulatory channels, but rather was an announcement of OSHA's "reinterpretation" of the existing rules.  OSHA states that President Obama's Executive Order issued in 2013 following the explosion at West Fertilizer was the basis for making this determination, thus pulling retail ammonia facilities into a new regulatory program that is more comprehensive than the current Risk Management Program 2 (RMP); it is essentially RMP Program Level 3.  OSHA also stated that all ammonia facilities and potentially LP gas facilities with over 10,000 lbs of storage would be expected to comply within six months.  In simple terms, PSM is a rule that has traditionally been applied at chemical manufacturing facilities, not at storage facilities, and the retail exemption from PSM has existed since 1992.  
IFCA has been in contact with the Ag Retailers Association and The Fertilizer Institute to offer our expertise and experience to counteract this abrupt and very concerning decision by OSHA, and we know that ARA and TFI will be very engaged on behalf of retailers and the fertilizer industry.  To give you an idea of what the PSM regulations require, attached is a one page overview of the requirements, much of which pertain to the processes at your facility, training, equipment maintenance, operational procedures and work performed on the ammonia operations by outside contractors.  Click here for a one page overview of the PSM requirements.  
We wanted you to be aware of this development, and to know that IFCA will work diligently and utilize our resources and our relationships with agencies and legislators to the best of our ability to represent our affected members and also ensure that we keep you informed.  In the event that we are unable to change the outcome of this ruling, we will be ready to provide compliance assistance and training to help you with this additional layer of regulations.  In the meantime if you have questions please contact Jean or KJ at 309.827.2774.   Sorry to share such troubling news but we wanted you to know what we know.