On September 8, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) joined the Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) in sending a letter to OSHA requesting an extension to the Process Safety Management (PSM) compliance period for agricultural retailers. The letter follows a July decision by OSHA to do away with its PSM exemption for agricultural retailers that handle more than threshold quantities of anhydrous ammonia, aqua ammonia, or other highly hazardous chemicals.
When announcing the new PSM policy, OSHA gave agricultural retailers six months to comply with the revised rule. This is far too little time for retailers to understand the PSM requirements, complete any upgrades, and develop their PSM compliance materials. The letter highlighted the compliance challenges facing retailers, the cost of compliance, and requests that OSHA provide an extension to the compliance period.
TFI has also sent a survey to agricultural retailers requesting information on the barriers to PSM compliance. Information from that survey will be used to craft a secondary request for extension, highlighting more specific challenges to compliance.
This major policy change – accomplished thorough a single memo, not rulemaking and comment, could cost the U.S. retail agribusiness sector upwards of $100 million. We are tackling this issue on several fronts. The most time sensitive issue however, is doing all we can to ensure that, absent a change in policy, retailers have adequate time to comply.