News

IME Files Comments Encouraging Improved Chemical Safety and Security

03/31/2014

Today IME filed comments with the Interagency Working Group (IWG) established under Executive Order 13650, Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security (EO), encouraging the IWG to adopt IME’s Safety & Security Guidelines for Ammonium Nitrate (AN Guidelines), and to take additional steps to enhance existing federal regulations governing the materials used by our industry.  IME believes that industry and government can collaborate to improve the nation’s chemical regulations by identifying gaps and weaknesses in current programs that can be filled by adopting proven industry best practices.  These best practices, coupled with our commitment to regulatory compliance and improvement, have led to our exceptional safety and security record – one that we believe can be duplicated in other industries. 

 

Our comments also describe the efforts we have made to ensure that first responder organizations serving the communities where we operate are well-informed and engaged with us in emergency planning and response.  Working with government officials at all levels, employees, and the public, we believe that all facilities handling hazardous chemicals can be operated responsibly and in accordance with the highest industry standards, and that existing federal regulations can be effectively communicated and enforced to help achieve this goal.  We hope that the collaborative process established by the IWG will be successful, and that the federal agencies involved will continue to work with us and other stakeholders even after the current EO mission concludes.

 

IME also filed comments today on a Request for Information (RFI) published by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) on improving that agency’s Process Safety Management (PSM) program and its Explosives and Blasting Agents standard at 29 CFR 1910.109.  Among other things, IME recommends that the ammonium nitrate (AN) provisions of the 1910.109 standard be enhanced by incorporating IME’s AN Guidelines, which have been endorsed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, and the International Society of Explosives Engineers.  This improvement will ensure that all facilities storing AN meet the high standards of safety and security currently observed by our industry, and will facilitate better emergency planning and communication between facility owners/operators, first responder groups, and the public.  IME’s comments also recommend that OSHA’s outdated Explosives and Blasting Agents standard be revised in whole to reflect current industry products and practices.  IME stands ready to assist the agency in both of these efforts, and is confident that by working cooperatively, an improved, meaningful, and effective standard can be developed.   

IME's comments are available on this website.