WASHINGTON — The Obama administration stopped short of forcing chemical plants to use safer compounds in a review prompted by the 2013 fatal blast at an fertilizer depot in Texas, leaving safety advocates hoping for tighter rules in the future.

Federal agencies announced several steps on Friday, including a drive for stiffer penalties and procedures for handling volatile substances, to improve oversight of fertilizer plants, refineries and chemical manufacturers. President Obama ordered the review after 15 people were killed in the blast in West, Texas.

Instead of requiring safer technologies, government agencies will “develop voluntary guidance to make chemical operators aware” of them, according to the report by government agencies. At a later date, it will consider “requirements to include specific safer alternatives.”

That’s inadequate for groups worried that other chemical plants could explode or release toxic fumes.

“If the Obama administration is serious about protecting workers and communities, the president must stand up for prevention requirements that include safer chemicals and processes,” a group of 100 safety and environmental groups said in a statement. “The people of West, Texas, deserve better than the voluntary half-measures in today’s report.”

The industry fears that the voluntary measures could become mandatory, creating an “unnecessary layer of duplicative requirements,” according to a statement from the American Chemistry Council.

The report issued Friday by the Labor Department, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Homeland Security contains the government-wide action plan following the explosion in Texas. Many of the rules implementing the decisions outlined Friday will be issued in the coming year or two.

“Chemicals and the facilities that manufacture, store, distribute and use them are essential to our economy and livelihood, but the handling and storage of chemicals can present a risk that must be addressed,” the three agency officials leading the assessment said in a joint blog post.

An April 2013 fire at a Adair Grain fertilizer depot triggered an explosion of ammonium nitrate, leveling the plant, killing 15 and leaving a deep crater.

In its preliminary findings on the West, Texas, blast, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board said the warehouse and bins were combustible and the building had no sprinkler system.