Frequent Questions

Definition of fuel

A flammable substance listed in 40 CFR §68.130 is excluded from the risk management program regulations when it is used as a fuel or held for sale as a fuel at a retail facility (§68.126). What is the definition of fuel for the purposes of this exclusion?  

There is no regulatory definition of fuel; however, EPA considers a fuel to be a material used to produce heat or power by burning.

OSHA provides an exemption from the Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard for hydrocarbon fuels used solely for workplace consumption as a fuel (e.g., propane used for comfort heating), if such fuels are not part of a process containing another highly hazardous chemical covered by the standard. EPA’s exclusion largely follows the OSHA exemption relating to fuel; therefore, EPA looks to OSHA precedent in interpreting and applying the limitations to the extent the EPA exclusion parallels OSHA’s exemption. Thus, a facility may want to review OSHA guidance on whether a particular chemical meets the definition of a fuel.

Additional information the fuels exclustion can be found in Chapter 1, page 1-3, of the General Guidance on Risk Management Programs for Chemical Accident Prevention (40 CFR Part 68) (EPA550-B-04-001), available at the following URL:

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