A crucial part of the process safety management program is a thorough investigation of incidents to identify the chain of events and causes so that corrective measures can be developed and implemented. Accordingly, PSM requires the investigation of each incident that resulted in, or could reasonably have resulted in, a catastrophic release of a highly hazardous chemical in the workplace.

Such an incident investigation must be initiated as promptly as possible, but not later than 48 hours following the incident. The investigation must be by a team consisting of at least one person knowledgeable in the process involved, including a contract employee if the incident involved the work of a contractor, and other persons with appropriate knowledge and experience to investigate and analyze the incident thoroughly.

An investigation report must be prepared including at least: 


  • Date of incident

  • Date investigation began

  • Description of the incident

  • Factors that contributed to the incident

  • Recommendations resulting from the investigation

A system must be established to promptly address and resolve the incident report findings and recommendations. Resolutions and corrective actions must be documented and the report reviewed by all affected personnel whose job tasks are relevant to the incident findings (including contract employees when applicable). The employer must keep these incident investigation reports for 5 years.

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