Process Safety Management Regulation in the United States: Have We Learned the Lessons of Bhopal?

Global Congress on Process Safety
April 3, 2012 - 12:00am

The author was a member of a team which traveled to Bhopal in March of 1985 and produced a report for the Indian and international trade union federations. He was subsequently involved in the legislative and regulatory efforts which led to the OSHA Process Safety Management Standard. That standard, and the accompanying EPA Risk Management Program, have been somewhat effective in reducing the risk of catastrophic accidents, but both programs suffer from a lack of resources, and the PSM and RMP regulations are hard to enforce. Alternative forms of regulation are considered, including third-party audits, the audit and inspection system in place in California's Contra Costa County, and the British safety case approach. Using Bhopal as a case study, the author considers the extent to which the different systems would have effectively addressed the underlying causes of that accident.
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