SIA Files Comments to EPA on Facility Accidents

Tuesday, Nov 04, 2014, 8:24pm

by Semiconductor Industry Association

Published Tuesday, November 4, 2014
On Oct. 29, SIA filed comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to request for information on potential changes to its comprehensive Risk Management Program (RMP) aimed at preventing or minimizing the consequences of accidental chemical releases. The EPA notice was very broad and discusses a wide range of potential changes to the RMP regulations, and therefore SIA’s comments set forth a number of high-level principles to guide EPA’s actions in this area.

Most importantly, the SIA comments emphasize the need for alignment between the EPA regulations and similar programs under the authority of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Some aspects of EPA’s proposal are “the same or related to” changes under consideration by OSHA in a separate program, the process safety management (PSM) standard. SIA filed comments to OSHA on the PSM standard in March 2014, and we emphasized the importance of making the RMP and PSM requirements as consistent as possible and the need for the two agencies to speak with one voice, particularly regarding matters related to regulatory scope, approach, terminology, substantive obligations, reporting and recordkeeping. The SIA comments also emphasized the need for EPA to prioritize and target new regulatory requirements on the facilities with the greatest risk of accidents. While some types of manufacturing operations have a record of accidents (e.g., fertilizer manufacturing), the SIA comments summarized the process controls in a fab and the fact that these process controls have helped the semiconductor industry reduce the potential for chemical accidents. We pointed out that, according to a compilation of EPA data on accidents, the semiconductor industry (NAICS Code 334413) shows no accidents over the last five years.