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EPA Amends Risk Management Program Regulations

The EPA plans to amend its Risk Management Program (RPM) regulations as they relate to accident prevention around hazardous chemicals. Many of these chemicals are regularly used in the HVACR industry by companies and technicians.

On June 9, 2017, the EPA Administrator signed a final rule to further delay the effective date of the RMP rule amendments for 20 months until February 19, 2019. EPA is conducting a reconsideration proceeding to review objections raised by petitioners to the final RMP amendments rule. This delay of the effective date will allow EPA to complete the reconsideration process and to consider other issues that may benefit from additional comment.

The RMP rule was built upon existing industry codes and standards. It requires facilities that use listed regulated toxic or flammable substances for accidental release prevention to develop an RMP and submit that plan to EPA.  These substances include common HVAC refrigerants like furane, propane and Isopentane. The complete list of substances regulated by the rule can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/rmp/list-regulated-substances-under-risk-management-plan-rmp-program.

Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act Amendments requires EPA to publish regulations and guidance for chemical accident prevention at facilities that use certain hazardous substances. These regulations and guidance are contained in the RMP rule. The information helps local fire, police, and emergency response personnel prepare for and respond to chemical emergencies, and also fosters communication and awareness among the public to improve accident prevention and emergency response practices.

EPA anticipates that implementation of the rule will result in a reduction of the frequency and magnitude of damages from releases. Accidents and releases from RMP facilities occur every year, causing fires and explosions; damage to property; acute and chronic exposures of workers and nearby residents to hazardous materials; and resulting in serious injuries and death. EPA expects that some portion of future damages would be prevented through implementation of this final rule.

To see the EPA’s complete Final Rule visit https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-06-14/pdf/2017-12340.pdf.

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