Skip to main content

API Releases Updated Standard to Improve Worker Safety in Petrochemical Manufacturing; Announces Training Webinar on Standard


202.682.8114 | press@api.org



WASHINGTON, May 2, 2019 – Today, the American Petroleum Institute (API) released the second edition of the only refining and petrochemical industry guidelines to improve worker safety by addressing fatigue as a risk factor.

A voluntary industry consensus committee that included labor, national trade associations, industry owner/operators, and industry engineers convened to advance and update Recommended Practice 755 (RP 755), “Fatigue Risk Management Systems for Personnel in the Refining and Petrochemical Industries.” This document builds on the 1st edition that was developed based on a recommendation by the Chemical Safety Board in 2007, following an incident at a refinery.  RP 755 has been designated as an American National Standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the authority on U.S. standards.

RP 755 provides guidance to employees, managers, and supervisors on understanding, recognizing and managing fatigue in the workplace.  RP 755 also outlines how owners and operators should establish policies and procedures to address these issues in the workplace.

“API works to constantly evaluate and strengthen our industry standards, to help ensure continuous safety improvements across the industry.  The second edition of RP 755 advances unified and condensed requirements to avoid fatigue for all workers involved in safety sensitive processes,” said Debra Phillips, vice president of API’s Global Industry Services division, which is responsible for API’s standards setting, certification, training, events, publications, and safety programs.

API’s second edition of RP 755 further improves on the original standard, with significant changes from the first edition that include:

  • Limits to Hours of Service: The second edition of RP 755 decreases opportunities for misunderstanding, with the updated guidelines applicable to all employees involved in process safety sensitive actions, including how to manage call outs (covered positions).
  • New Guidance on the Work Environment: The second edition includes new requirements regarding lighting and fatigue assessment based on advances in the science since the first edition.
  • Individual Risk Assessment and Mitigation: The new standard reflects the growing availability of technology that can detect fatigue, and includes guidance using objective, validated tools for assessing fatigue.
  • “Shoulds” v. “Shalls”: Several sections of RP 755 were changed from “should perform” to “shall perform” to clarify that all components of Fatigue Risk Management Systems are needed, while retaining flexibility in how they are implemented.

API will be hosting a training webinar on May 13, 2019 on the second edition of ANSI and API’s RP 755. The overview of the second edition of API and ANSI’s RP 755 will be hosted by Steven Lerman, MD, MPH, an expert in workforce fatigue who is Board Certified in Occupational Medicine with broad expertise in Occupational and Environmental Health.  Dr. Lerman worked for ExxonMobil for decades and conducted several studies of health of the workforce, including studies to assess whether exposure to bright lights helps employees adjust to requirements in shift work. In addition, he chaired the committees that developed both the first edition and second edition of RP 755. 

For details about the RP 755 webinar, or to register, please visit www.apilearning.org or email Training@api.org.

RP 755 Background:

As a result of the investigation of the U.S. Chemical and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) of a refinery incident in 2005, CSB issued several recommendations including developing “fatigue prevention guidelines for the refining and petrochemical industries that, at a minimum, limit hours and days of work and address shift work.”

This document was developed for refineries, petrochemical and chemical operations, natural gas liquefaction plants, and other facilities such as those covered by the OSHA Process Safety Management Standard, 29 CFR 1910.119.  This document is intended to apply to a workforce that is commuting daily to a job location.

RP 755 applies to all employees working night shifts, rotating shifts, extended hours/days or call outs involved in process safety sensitive actions. It should also be considered for others making process safety-sensitive decisions. On-site contractors involved in process safety sensitive actions shall have fatigue risk management systems equivalent to the criteria outlined in this document.

API standards are developed under API’s American National Standards Institute accredited process, ensuring that the API standards are recognized not only for their technical rigor but also their third-party accreditation which facilitates acceptance by state, federal, and increasingly international regulators. API’s GIS division is responsible for standards setting, certification, training, events, publications and safety programs for industry operations.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the natural gas and oil industry, which supports 10.3 million U.S. jobs and nearly 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 600 members include large integrated companies, as well as pipeline, exploration and production, refining, marketing, marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 47 million Americans. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization. In its first 100 years, API has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.

###