Risk Management Program (RMP) Amendments Finalized

07 Mar
Risk Management Program


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On February 27, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) signed the much-anticipated final amendments to the Risk Management Program (RMP) Rule—known as the Safer Communities by Chemical Accident Prevention (SCCAP) Amendments—to further protect high-risk communities from chemical accidents. According to the EPA press release, the SCCAP Amendments include EPA’s most protective safety provisions for chemical facilities in history, requiring stronger measures for prevention, preparedness, and public transparency.

RMP Primer: A Sordid History

Just what the RMP Rule entails has been the subject of debate since EPA first proposed the RMP Amendments in 2017. Rules related to RMP requirements have been published, petitioned, delayed, vacated, reissued, and reconsidered. In November 2019, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the RMP Reconsideration Rule, rescinding or modifying many of the measures of the 2017 Amendments. In August 2022, EPA proposed, once again, to strengthen the RMP regulations with the proposed SCCAP Amendments, which were finalized on February 27, 2024.

RMP regulates approximately 11,740 facilities in the U.S. that use extremely hazardous substances, including agricultural supply distributors, waste/wastewater treatment and end-of-life processing facilities, chemical manufacturers and distributors, food and beverage manufacturers, chemical warehouses, oil refineries, and other chemical facilities. 

Fundamentally, the RMP Rule has always required facilities storing specific chemicals above certain threshold amounts to develop Risk Management Plans to prevent and mitigate accidents that could release those chemicals into the environment and cause injury or death, damage property and the environment, or require communities to evacuate or shelter-in-place. The Risk Management Plan is intended to:

  • Identify potential impacts of a chemical accident on human health and the environment.
  • Outline steps the facility is taking to prevent an accident.
  • Detail emergency response procedures in the event of an accident.

The Rule also contains more rigorous requirements for a subgroup of facilities that are more prone to accidents and pose the greatest risk to the community.


The SCCAP Amendments include several new requirements that require RMP-regulated chemical facilities to better consider surrounding communities, including the impacts of climate change, environmental justice concerns, employee participation, and enhanced community notification.

Historically underserved and overburdened populations disproportionately live in closest proximity to RMP facilities. In fact, according to EPA, approximately 131 million people live within three miles of RMP facilities and 44 million of these individuals earn less than or equal to twice the poverty level. The Amendments focus on increasing transparency and access to RMP information for communities living and working around the surrounding areas, as well as supporting President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative to protect disadvantaged communities.

In addition to the major amendments outlined in the table below, EPA is working to increase transparency by making RMP information more accessible through a public data tool, which will allow people to access information for RMP facilities in nearby communities.

Safer Technology Alternatives Analysis (STAA)Requires a STAA and, in some cases, implementation of reliable safeguards (e.g., inherently safer technologies and designs (IST/ISD), passive measures, active and procedural measures) for certain facilities in industry sectors with high accident rates (i.e., Program 3 NAICS 324 and 325 processes).
Employee EngagementAdvances employee participation, training, and decision-making in facility accident prevention, including:
– Encouraging employee participation in resolving findings from process hazard analyses, compliance audits, and incident investigations.
– Allowing for partial or complete process shutdown (i.e., stop work procedures) in the event of a potential catastrophic release.
– Implementing a process for employees to anonymously report unaddressed hazards.
– Requiring training on employee participation plans.
Root Cause Analysis Third-party Compliance AuditsRequires third-party compliance audits and root cause analysis incident investigations when facilities have had a prior RMP-reportable accident.
Emergency ResponseEnhances facility planning and preparedness efforts to strengthen emergency response by:
– Requiring facilities to develop procedures to inform the public about accidental releases.
– Ensuring chemical release information is shared with local emergency planning commissions (LEPCs) in a timely manner.
– Partnering with LEPCs to establish a community notification system to warn of impending releases.
– Requiring 10-year field exercises for emergency response, as well as related mandatory scope and reporting requirements.
Natural HazardsRequires facilities to evaluate risks of natural hazards and climate change and provide a backup power source for release monitoring equipment.
Information SharingIncreases transparency by requiring facilities to provide chemical hazard information in the two most common languages spoken by individuals living, working, or spending significant time within six miles of the facility.  
Facility SitingRequires facility siting to be addressed in hazard reviews and explicitly defines facility siting requirements for Program 2 hazard reviews and Program 3 process hazard analyses.

The Rule also includes several minor regulatory edits to clarify requirements related to recognized and generally accepted good engineering practices (RAGAGEP), hot work permits, retail facility exemptions, amongst others. Any new provisions that are not adopted require a written justification as part of the Risk Management Plan.


Most provisions, including STAA, incident investigation root cause analysis, third-party compliance audit, employee participation, emergency response public notification, exercise evaluation reports, and information availability provisions have a deadline of three years after the effective date.

Facilities have until March 15, 2027 to conduct revised emergency response field exercises (or within 10 years of the date of an emergency response field exercise conducted between March 15, 2017 and August 31, 2022).

All updates to and resubmission of Risk Management Plans with revised data elements are due four years after the Rule’s effective date.

Next Steps

For RMP facilities, it is important to:

  • Understand the hazards posed by chemicals at the facility and assess the impacts of a potential release.
  • Review the Amendments to determine what updates need to be made to the facility’s Risk Management Plan and when.
  • Prioritize your compliance risks and develop strategies to minimize them to the extent possible, including:
    • Outlining steps to improve performance and safe operations.
    • Defining organizational roles and responsibilities.
    • Designing and maintaining a safe facility to prevent accidental releases.
  • Minimize the consequences of accidental releases that do occur.
  • Coordinate with local emergency responders to plan and conduct required tabletop exercises to ensure your plans work in practice.
  • Streamline compliance methods and improve operational efficiencies by implementing IT solutions and compliance management systems that coordinate, organize, control, analyze, and visualize information.

KTL has experience working with a broad cross-section of industries impacted by RMP, particularly chemical companies. We have created RMP and General Duty Clause audit protocols, conducted audits and investigation/improvement programs following significant release events. In addition, our team provides Tier II and TRI reporting, writes plans for OSHA and Emergency Response, routinely works with LEPCs to coordinate emergency response efforts and exercises to keep communities informed and safe.

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