EPA has issued a change to its Risk Management Program, or RMP regulations for those who process, produce, handle or store hazardous substances or chemicals.  The changes are in an amendment to the rule, officially called the Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention, or SCCAP.  These new rules hope to help increase protection for human health and environment from chemical hazards using lessons learned and process safety procedures.

First, What’s RMP?

RMP can be found in EPA’s Clean Air Act.  If you produce, process, handle or store one of 140 targeted toxic or flammable chemicals that have the potential to be released at certain threshold quantities, then you fall under RMP requirements.  Some examples of the 140 chemicals included are ammonia, chlorine, propane, formaldehyde and sulfur dioxide.

Water treatment plants, agricultural COOPs and chemical manufacturers are typical types of companies who need to comply with RMP.

RMPs must include:

  • Hazard assessments
  • Potential effects of a chemical accident
  • 5-year accident history
  • Evaluation of worst-case scenarios and alternative accident release potentials
  • Prevention programs that include safety precautions, maintenance, monitoring, and employee training measures
  • Emergency response program that lists emergency health care, employee training measures, procedures for informing the public.

RMPs are similar to OSHA’s Process Safety Management (PSM) standard, but RMP is concerned with protecting the environment and human health while PSM is focused on protecting the worker.  Unlike PSM, RMPs are directly submitted to EPA and information is input into a public database for transparency purposes.

Program Levels

A number of the changes are related to specific program levels of RMP.  There are 3 levels to RMP:

Program 1

Processes which would not affect the public in the case of a worst-case release and with no accidents with specific offsite consequences within the past five years.  These sites have limited hazard assessment and minimal prevention and emergency response requirements.

Program 3: 

This is for processes not eligible for Program 1 and are either subject to OSHA’s PSM standard or have one of 10 specified North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes (NAICS code 32211, 32411, 32511, 325181, 325188, 325192, 325199, 325211, 325311, or 32532).  This program requires using OSHA’s PSM standard as your prevention program plus there are additional hazard assessment, management, and emergency response requirements.

Program 2:

If you don’t fit into Program 1 or 3, then you are a Program 2.  This program imposes streamlined prevention program requirements, as well as additional hazard assessment, management, and emergency response requirements.

The Rule Changes

Emergency Response

  • RMP facilities must develop procedures for informing the public about accidental releases.
  • Release notification data must be provided to local responders.
  • A community notification system must be in place for RMP-reportable accidents.
  • Field exercises must be conducted every 10 years unless local responders indicate that’s infeasible.
  • Emergency response exercises are to follow mandatory scope and reporting requirements.

Third-Party Compliance Audits

  • A third-party must do the next scheduled compliance audit when an RMP-regulated facility experiences two RMP-reportable accidents within five years or when a Program 3 facility under NAICS 324 or 325 has one reportable accident within one year AND that facility sits within one mile of another NAICS 324 or 325 process facility.

Program Requirements

  • Facility siting must be considered in Program 2 hazard reviews and Program 3 process hazard analyses.
  • When facilities have a reportable accident, a formal root cause analysis incident investigation must be conducted.
  • Program 2 hazard reviews and Program 3 process hazard analyses must now address natural hazards (including those resulting from climate change) and power losses.
  • Whenever a recommendation from a hazard evaluation, facility siting, or a third-party compliance audit is not adopted, a justification needs to be put into the RMP.

Employee Participation

  • Employee participation is required in resolving process hazard analyses, compliance audit and incident investigation recommendations and findings.
  • Employee participation is required for stop work procedures in Program 3.
  • Program 2 and 3 sites must provide opportunities for employees to anonymously report RMP accidents or issues of non-compliance.

Safer Technologies and Alternatives Analysis (STAA)

  • A STAA evaluation is required for all Program 3 NAICS 324 and 325 processes.
  • A Practicability assessment of inherently safer technologies and designs (IST/ISD) should be considered if your process falls within one of these conditions:
    • It’s a Program 3 under NAICS 324 and 325 within one mile of another Program 3 NAICS 324 or 325 process,
    • It’s a process under NAICS 324 using with hydrofluoric acid alkylation,
    • You’ve had one RMP accident since the facility’s most recent process hazard analysis.
  • Implement at least one passive measure at the facility, or IST/ISD, or a combination of active and procedural measures equivalent to or greater than the risk reduction of a passive measure for the same facilities required to conduct the practicability assessment.
  • When STAA recommendations are not adopted, then you must provide justification.


  • The facility must now provide chemical hazard information, upon request, to residents living within 6 miles of the facility in the language they request.


  • Hot work permits must be kept for 3 years.
  • Program 2 and Program 3 requirements should be consistent for recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices.
  • Program 3 process safety info must be kept up to date.

Compliance Dates

The SCCAP is effective May 10, 2024.  There are two separate compliance dates.  Emergency response field exercise frequencies are due by March 15, 2027, or within 10 years of the date of an emergency response field exercise conducted between March 15, 2017 and August 31, 2022.

The following items are due three years after Final Rule publication (May 10, 2027)

  • Root cause analyses
  • Third-party compliance audits
  • Safer Technologies and Alternatives Analysis (STAA)
  • Employee participation
  • Emergency response public notification
  • Exercise evaluation reports

More Information

If you have questions or need assistance in determining if your facility is required to comply with RMP, or if you need help getting one setup, contact us!

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Does this new change pertain to your company? Our team can help you figure it out and can help with other air compliance issues.


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