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Jurisdictional Boundaries in Midstream - Where Is the Line?

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    April 23, 2018
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • Skill Level:
  • PDHs:

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Midstream Operations are familiar with the applicability of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials (PHMSA) regulation of the Department of Transportation (DOT) but may not be familiar when, if ever, the Process Safety Management (PSM) regulation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) applies to their operations. The intent of PHMSA is to cover the transportation of hazardous chemicals while the intent of PSM is to cover processes involving hazardous chemicals. But, where is the line drawn between PHMSA and PSM? Since transportation is regulated by PHMSA, it is clear that pipelines are DOT covered. When the pipeline enters a Midstream facility, the line between transportation and process becomes less clear.

One could argue that Midstream facilities do not alter the chemical composition of the chemicals and therefore are not processing; however, the PSM definition of process is not simply concerned with manufacturing:

Process is defined as any activity involving a hazardous chemical including any use, storage, manufacturing, handling, or the on-site movement of such chemicals, or combination of these activities.

One could argue that the chemicals in a Midstream facility are no longer in transportation since they are being stored; however, the DOT definition of process extends beyond transmission:

Transportation means the gathering, transmission, or distribution of [a hazardous chemical] by pipeline or the storage of [a hazardous chemical], in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce.

This paper will discuss the gray area between PSM and DOT jurisdiction, including coverage of Terminal operations (e.g. drying), break-out tanks, railcars/trucks, and cavern applicability. The nuances of PSM applicability, including interconnectivity and colocation, hydrocarbon used as a fuel, atmospheric tanks, and safety systems will be presented. Furthermore, this paper will provide a history of jurisdictional boundary and PSM applicability cases/interpretations and will present examples of determining PSM jurisdiction and applicability.

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