Wednesday, August 06, 2003

New Jersey Adopts Reactive Chemical Regulation

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced expansion of New Jersey's Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act (TCPA) program to add reactive chemicals to the list of extraordinarily hazardous substances that trigger risk management planning requirements of TCPA.
These chemicals can explode when accidentally exposed to air or water, or when they are improperly mixed with certain other chemicals. The force of the explosion can kill or permanently disable people outside the facility.

New Jersey will require companies handling reactive chemicals to prepare accidental release prevention plans and examine safer technologies to prevent industrial incidents like the tragic ones that occurred at Napp Technologies in Lodi in 1995 and at Morton International in Paterson in 1998. The Napp and Morton International accidents were the result of reactive chemistry interactions.
The U.S. Chemical and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) recommended last year that OSHA revise its Process Safety Management standard to add reactive chemicals. The Bush Administration withdrew a plan to begin rulemaking on reactives last year and the agency has not yet responded to the CSB's recommendation.
"New Jersey is the first state in the nation to address reactive hazards," said Charles Jeffress, chief operating officer of the CSB. "The Chemical Safety Board is very pleased by this step forward to protect residents and workers from chemical accidents."
Much of the credit for this rare (these days) progress in workplace safety and health goes to the Rick Engler and the New Jersey Work Environment Council who who led the way, along with other allies, including Paper, Allied- Industrial, Chemical & Energy Workers International Union Local 2-943 (representing workers at DuPont, state’s largest chemical plant) in planting the seeds for this measure.