ACC and its members place safety and security at the core of its operations. ACC members demonstrate their commitment to safety and security through Responsible Care®, our industry’s world-class environmental, health, safety, and security performance initiative. Responsible Care pushes companies to go beyond existing regulatory requirements to enhance their EHSS performance. And the program has delivered results—companies have reduced safety incidents by 53 percent since 1995 and have achieved a worker safety rate more than five times better than the entire U.S. manufacturing sector as a whole.
The Executive Order (EO) on Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security wisely directs federal agencies and stakeholders to take stock of the full range of existing industry initiatives and regulatory programs, and then look for opportunities to enhance safety and security. With that goal in mind, the following are several recommendations ACC and its members have submitted to address a number of key goals outlined in the EO:
Federal Recognition of Private Sector Programs
The EO directs the Working Group to devise options that take advantage of private sector initiatives that will help improve how the federal government oversees the management of chemical safety and security. We believe that increased regulatory recognition and the leveraging of industry performance improvement programs, such as ACC’s Responsible Care program, are essential components for advancing the effectiveness of the current federal approach.
Improved Information Sharing and Community Outreach
ACC strongly supports the efforts under the EO to address improved coordination among agencies that possess pertinent safety and security information and encourages collaboration with local first responders and emergency planning committees. We believe that any proposal concerning enhanced information sharing must address the real world concerns that sensitive facility security information or confidential business information, if provided broadly, could be used by those who wish to do us harm and potentially jeopardize the safety and security of our communities. ACC recommends that the Working Group look closely at existing information sharing programs, both regulatory and voluntary, and identify information sharing deficiencies raised by recent incidents and develop recommendations to address the deficiencies.
Modernization of Risk Management Policies and Improving Coordination
To make sure that existing regulatory programs stay current, ACC agrees that a periodic review of covered chemicals under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Risk Management Plan (RMP) Rule, Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals (PSM) standard, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) is warranted. We believe this process must be transparent and include all stakeholders to ensure that risks are considered in the context of real-world factors. The review process must be based on sound scientific principles and founded in risk-based analysis, while considering the economic impacts and technical feasibility.
Coordination with Stakeholders to Identify Best Practices
ACC and its members work closely with government officials, such as OSHA and the Chemical Safety Board (CSB), and with other industry organizations to look for ways to enhance chemical safety by improving the effectiveness of regulations and to share industry best practices and lessons learned. We encourage the Working Group to actively engage with industry associations and standard-making bodies so that the wealth of information on best practices can be readily shared. In this way, the Working Group can develop a plan on how these practices can be communicated so that the problems brought to light by recent incidents can be appropriately addressed.
Identification of Best Practices to Reduce Chemical Risks through Safer Alternatives
ACC believes that a regulatory approach focusing on safer alternatives would be counterproductive. The current regulatory programs in place today and the marketplace itself provide very strong incentives for companies to consider and adopt inherently safer technology (IST). In addition, industry performance programs such as Responsible Care are designed for continuous improvement, requiring companies to develop and implement a process safety management system to manage risk and seek opportunities to improve performance, including the consideration of safer alternatives—one of the stated goals of the EO. These programs allow facility operators to use all of the risk management tools and options at their disposal, while considering the complexities of their unique operating environment. We believe that adding additional layers of regulation that address IST are not needed, and would only serve to create confusion and stretch Agency and facility management resources.
For more details and other recommendations, please see our complete verbal and written comments posted under the comments tab on this page.