Documenting PHA Findings and Recommendations
Documentation of PHA Findings and Recommendations
October 2, 2020
Mr. Dave Worthington
403 West 21st Street
Houston, Texas 77008
Dear Mr. Worthington:
Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. You have requested an interpretation of OSHA’s standard, 29 CFR § 1910.119 Process Safety Management (PSM) of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (HHC) regarding documenting facility siting study findings and recommendations. This letter constitutes OSHA’s interpretation of the requirements discussed in the letter and may not be applicable to other questions not delineated within your original correspondence.
Question: Do recommendations from the facility siting study report need to be included on the process hazard analysis (PHA) worksheet to be in compliance with 29 CFR § 1910.119(e)(5)1 and 29 CFR § 1910.119(e)(7)?2
Response: No, the employer is not required to document PHA findings and recommendations from the facility siting study report in the same PHA worksheet or recommendations log to comply with 29 CFR § 1910.119(e)(5) and 29 CFR § 1910.119(e)(7). 29 CFR § 1910.119(e)(3)(v) requires an employer to address facility siting as part of the PHA. When facility siting studies are conducted to supplement a PHA finding, all findings and recommendations from the facility siting study must be documented and the employer must ensure timely resolution of findings and recommendations as required in 29 CFR § 1910.119(e)(5). Since the PSM standard is performance-based, OSHA does not specify the way an employer documents, compiles, or tracks actions taken on PHAs or facility siting study findings and recommendations. Nevertheless, the employer’s documented PHA findings and recommendations from the facility siting study must be maintained and consistent with the employer’s system to promptly address those findings and recommendations as required in 29 CFR § 1910.119(e)(5) and 29 CFR § 1910.119(e)(7).
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA’s requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA’s interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time, letters are affected when the Agency updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation. To ensure you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA’s website at www.osha.gov. If you have further questions, please contact the Directorate of Enforcement Programs at (202) 693-2100
Patrick J. Kapust
Directorate of Enforcement Programs
1 Accessible at 29 CFR § 1910.119(e)(5) – The employer shall establish a system to promptly address the team’s findings and recommendations; assure that the recommendations are resolved in a timely manner and that the resolution is documented; document what actions are to be taken; complete actions as soon as possible; develop a written schedule of when these actions are to be completed; communicate the actions to operating, maintenance and other employees whose work assignments are in the process and who may be affected by the recommendations or actions.[Back to Text]
2 Accessible at 29 CFR § 1910.119(e)(7) 29 CFR § 1910.119(e)(7) – Employers shall retain process hazards analyses and updates or revalidations for each process covered by this section, as well as the documented resolution of recommendations described in paragraph (e)(5) of this section for the life of the process.
OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA’s interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA’s website at https://www.osha.gov.
DOL-OSHA-DEP-2020-011 – This document does not have the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.
See the HazComReady list of OSHA interpretations.