Differences in accident history between Program 1 eligibility and the hazard assessment
Program 1 eligibility under 40 CFR §68.10(b) is contingent upon the process not having had an accidental release of a regulated substance that led to offsite death, injury, or response and restoration activities at an environmental receptor within five years prior to the risk management plan submission. Additionally, as part of the hazard assessment required under 40 CFR §68.42(a), sources are required to document all accidental releases from covered processes that resulted in onsite or offsite deaths, injuries, property damage, evacuations, sheltering in place, or environmental damage. Why are there differences in the accident history elements required for determining Program 1 eligibility and the hazard assessment?
The two accident histories serve different purposes. The purpose of the Program 1 eligibility criterion (40 CFR §68.10(b)(1)) is simply to ensure that the process in question has had no releases of a regulated substance that resulted in offsite impacts; onsite impacts are not relevant. In addition to meeting the accident history criterion, Program 1 sources must be located such that there are no public receptors within the distance to a toxic or flammable endpoint. The accident history acts as a confirmation that releases from Program 1 processes do not have the potential for offsite impact.
The five-year accident history under 40 CFR §68.42, required as part of the hazard assessment, provides data on all serious accidental releases from covered processes at the stationary source. Since releases with onsite impacts indicate safety problems that could lead to releases with offsite impacts, EPA requires these accidents to be reported in the five-year accident history. Together, the accident history criterion for Program 1 eligibility and the five-year accident history required as part of the hazard assessment provide owners and operators an opportunity to demonstrate to the community ongoing excellence in accident prevention. These accident history requirements also provide an incentive to search for and implement ways, such as inventory reduction, to reduce the potential for offsite impacts associated with large scale accidental releases (61 FR 31675; June 20, 1996).