In a recent initial decision by an Administrative Law Judge from the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, the ALJ rejected OSHA’s attempt to specify how process safety information must be maintained by an employer. 

Among the issues before the judge in Sec. of Labor v. BP Products North America, Inc. et al. was whether 29 C.F.R. § 1910.119(d)(3)(i) requires process safety information for equipment in a PSM covered process to be presented in a specific format, specifically whether 119(d)(3)(i) requires an ASME Form U-1 for a covered pressure vessel.  In its opinion vacating the citation, the ALJ criticized OSHA for “impermissibly creat[ing] a significant requirement not found in the cited standard.”

The decision reinforces the position that in a performance based standard like PSM, an employer has significant latitude regarding how process safety information should be maintained.