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OSHA’s risk-based approach to regulations hailed by ASSE

OSHA's risk-based approach to regulations hailed by ASSE
OSHA's risk-based approach to regulations hailed by ASSE

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) has expressed its support for five federal agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for their work to develop risk-based regulations for the oil and gas industry, Bloomberg reports.

According to the news source, OSHA teamed up with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Bureau of Safety Management and Environmental Enforcement and the Coast Guard to draft the new standards.

"If a risk-based approach to safety works for the best U.S. employers, every employer should be given the opportunity to achieve workplace protections far above the minimum requirements set by prescriptive standards," Richard Pollock, ASSE president, said in a recent letter to David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "We are heartened that these regulatory agencies have accepted that a largely risk-based approach is appropriate to meet the risks found in the oil and gas industry."

OSHA stated it brought all the groups together to gather expert information and consider implemented performance-based regulatory approaches in the oil and gas industry. The meeting, however, did not bring about any immediate regulatory changes.

According to the media outlet, Pollock's letter to Michaels included examples showing that risk-based regulation is has already proven to be successful in areas of the oil and gas sector. Most notably, OSHA's process safety management standard was cited as an existing, successful risk-based standard.

"Freed from concentrating on efforts that simply comply with prescriptive standards, owner/operators are able to look beyond compliance and take responsibility for risk assessment and active management of risks," Pollock wrote. "By taking responsibility, they then find ways to elevate an organization's commitment to safety and health and achieve positive bottom line results."

During the meeting, ASSE officials also encouraged the parties to get rid of current redundant regulatory standards wherever they exist to promote greater safety.

It will be crucial for facilities management personnel in the oil and gas sector to follow these new standards that could be implemented, as failure to comply could lead to serious downtime and lost profits.

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