Chemical Safety: Actions Needed to Improve Federal Oversight of Facilities with Ammonium Nitrate, Report to Congressional Requesters   [open pdf - 6MB]

"In April 2013, about 30 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer detonated during a fire at a facility in West, Texas, killing at least 14 people and damaging nearby schools, homes, and a nursing home. This incident raised concerns about the risks posed by similar facilities across the country. OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] and EPA play a central role in protecting workers and communities from chemical accidents, and DHS administers a chemical facility security program. GAO [Government Accountability Office] was asked to examine oversight of ammonium nitrate facilities in the United States and other countries. This report addresses (1) how many facilities have ammonium nitrate in the United States, (2) how OSHA and EPA regulate and oversee facilities that have ammonium nitrate, and (3) what approaches selected other countries have adopted for regulating and overseeing facilities with ammonium nitrate. GAO analyzed available federal data and data from selected states with high use of ammonium nitrate; reviewed federal laws and regulations; and interviewed government officials, chemical safety experts, and industry representatives in the United States and selected countries. […] GAO is recommending that federal agencies improve data sharing, OSHA and EPA consider revising their related regulations to cover ammonium nitrate, and OSHA conduct outreach to the fertilizer industry and target high risk facilities for inspection. DHS, EPA, and OSHA agreed with GAO's recommendations and suggested technical changes, which GAO incorporated as appropriate."

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Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/
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Listed on May 28, 2014 [Critical Releases]