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Abstract

Process safety management (PSM) is a relatively new phrase that encompasses many activities for controlling process-related hazards in the workplace. These activities (also called PSM elements) have been maturing at different rates over the past two decades. Since 1986, state and federal regulators have been mandating implementation of PSM programs at workplaces that handle hazardous chemicals, including explosives, toxics, and flammables. Before promulgating their regulations, the regulators estimated the cost and benefit of compliance with these regulations, but in all cases their cost estimates have fallen orders of magnitude short of actual implementation costs. This paper presents the actual costs that some companies have expended and provides estimates of future costs to comply with either self-imposed standards or government regulations related to PSM. The data on actual costs were provided in response to a recent survey. The costs are broken into categories so that companies just now implementing PSM will be able to gear up for their future efforts. Also discussed are the types of benefits and, where possible, the actual benefits that have been achieved by implementing PSM programs. The cost of developing and implementing PSM is great; however, most companies have seen comparable or greater benefits as a result of implementing PSM programs. Finally, this paper explores the cost of implementing EPA's forthcoming regulation for risk management programs.