Kassie Olin

Project title: Process Safety Management Internship Project Regarding State Regulations

Degree: MS (Applied) | Program: Applied Occupational Hygiene (App OH) | Project type: Project
Completed in: 2021 | Faculty advisor: Martin A. Cohen


Process Safety Management (PSM) is the safe and systematic management of highly hazardous chemicals that have the potential for catastrophic release that could result in toxic exposure, fire, or explosions. There have been a number of fatal PSM incidents nationwide and in Washington State that have led to the creation of PSM regulations by OSHA and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I). A major component of OSHA and L&I’s mission is to inspect workplaces for health and safety violations to ensure a safe work environment for employees. Regulating Process Safety Management in Washington is still relative new, and there is a need for increased resources for compliance officers and employers so that workers in these highly hazardous chemical facilities remain safe and healthy. The Department of Labor and Industries is in the process of creating additional PSM regulations specific to refineries within Washington State to better capture the hazards of this specific industry. This project includes three different components that will improve the regulation and inspection of Process Safety Management hazards in Washington.

The first component is the creation of an inspection checklist for L&I compliance officers to use while inspecting refineries based on the drafted refinery PSM regulations that will come into effect in the next couple of years. Using an inspection checklist is beneficial so that inspections are conducted in a consistent and thorough manner, as PSM inspections can often be complicated and extensive. The second component of this project is an updated DOSH Directive for the new refinery regulations. DOSH Directives are an important tool for employers and industry professionals to get an overview of the regulations and how inspections are conducted for transparency and understanding. The final project component is the creation of a Washington State PSM training program that will train L&I Industrial Hygienists on the basics of Process Safety Management. Having this training is essential because it ensures that qualified compliance officers are performing these complicated inspections. The three components of this project will benefit L&I industrial hygienists as well as PSM facilities in Washington State by improving consistency and transparency in PSM regulations thus leading to safer and healthier work environments.