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News reports this evening describe a leak of anhydrous ammonia near the town of Katy, Texas (close to Houston). The reports say that the leak has been brought under control, and that there were no injuries.
What caught my attention was that the leak was reported to have occurred at a ’99 Cents Only Store’. (Later information was that the leak was at a Distribution Center/Warehouse, not an actual storefront.) This made me think of one of OSHA’s items in their proposal to update their Process Safety Management rule, discussed at our post Update to OSHA’s Process Safety Management Regulation. Part 10: Retail Facilities Exemption.
The proposed update reads,
7. Clarifying the scope of the retail facilities exemption.
The process safety standard is normally considered to apply to large chemical plants and refineries. But, as today’s incident illustrated, smaller, non-traditional facilities can also store significant quantities of hazardous chemicals.
OSHA has not provided detail as to how they intend to monitor non-traditional sites, such as retail warehouses. It will be interesting to see what the final form of this proposed update looks like.