EPA Audit – What You Should Know

IIAR recently sent out an EPA Enforcement Alert regarding The United States EPA National Enforcement and Compliance Assurance program has implemented several national compliance initiatives (NCIs) effective for 2020-2023. One of the initiatives would be focused on determining whether or not facilities using hazardous chemicals have conducted a hazard analysis. In addition, the EPA Enforcement Alert is to cite the General Duty Clause, which is part of the Clean Air Act Section 112(r) as it applies to any facilities using any quantity of hazardous chemicals.

After recently assisting a client through an EPA Inspection, the hazard analysis (PHA) represented only a small fraction of what the facility was expected to produce and show evidence of performance with their PSM/RMP program. For instance, in conjunction with the PHA, EPA also investigated the recommendations resulting from the analysis including how the recommendations were addressed, and that the resolutions were properly documented. Proper documentation for recommendation included whether the recommendation had been conducted in a timely manner with an explanation of what was done to resolve the recommendation. For example, an explanation of “inspected the pipe” or “fixed” does not meet the requirements and not what the EPA is looking for. We encourage facilities to be descriptive in their resolutions and to set the appropriate amount of time, usually less than a year, to resolve recommendations. In addition, the inspectors were very meticulous in reviewing whether the qualitative risk assessment conducted as part of the PHA, matched the facilities risk tolerance criteria (risk matrix).

Completing the PHA is only the first step. Suffice it to say, EPA investigated the hazard analysis with much greater detail than simply just asking if one has been completed but all the PSI that would have had to been compiled prior to conducting the PHA and much more.