Safer Refineries, Safer Communities

California’s 2017 Process Safety Management (PSM) regulation represents the most important advancement for industrial safety in America since 1992, when federal OSHA issued the first PSM regulation in the wake of the Union Carbide chemical disaster in Bhopal India that killed as many as 15,000 people.

This groundbreaking regulation was the result of labor, community and environmental justice organizing for stronger protections from refinery hazards after the 2012 Chevron Richmond fire that nearly killed 19 workers and sent an estimated 15,000 community members to seek health care.

The PSM regulation creates a framework for process safety in California’s refineries long recognized as essential to refinery safety.  Key elements include rights for workers, hierarchy of controls, inherent safety measures, damage mechanism reviews, human factors, safety culture and more.  The right for workers to have a voice is the foundation of this regulation.

It is up to us to make sure the regulation is implemented and enforced  – for safer refineries and safer communities.  To that end, UCLA LOSH collaborated with the United Steelworkers (USW) to create four short videos that highlight the history and key elements of the regulation. They are designed for outreach and education with workers, community members, labor and environmental justice organizations.

Contact us at loshinfo@ucla.edu about worker training and scroll down for resources and to see the following videos:

PSM Video Series

This UCLA LOSH video highlights the coalition that joined forces after the Chevron Richmond refinery fire to protect workers and communities. The efforts of labor, community, environmental justice and health activists ultimately led to a stronger Cal/OSHA Process Safety Management standard for refineries. (12 minutes)

This UCLA LOSH video defines process safety, explains some of the new elements in the standard, and gives examples of how it can make refineries safer through a greater emphasis on proactive maintenance and worker involvement. (6 minutes)

This UCLA LOSH video discusses the heart of California’s revised PSM Standard for refineries: it significantly increases the role of workers in a refinery’s PSM program and gives the union the right to pick the employees who will serve on various hazard investigation teams.  It also explains the rights of workers to refuse to do an unsafe job and of qualified operators to shut down unsafe processes. (7 minutes)

This UCLA LOSH video explains two of the elements in the revised California PSM Standard for refineries. Management of Change applies to the planning process and review needed before making major physical changes in a unit or process. Management of Organizational Change requires a review of potential impacts before proposing major changes in staffing, work schedules, or increased job duties. The importance of mechanical integrity is also covered. (6 minutes)

Resources

Navigating the California Process Safety Management Regulation for Refineries