The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) says it is “deeply troubled” that the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is targeted for elimination in President Trump’s budget blueprint for 2018.
From the ASSE:
For more than 20 years, the CSB has played a critical role in keeping American workers safe as an independent, non-regulatory federal agency in charge of conducting root-cause investigations of industrial chemical incidents at fixed facilities. Examples include the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and the Texas City Refinery explosion. The investigations lead to vital safety recommendations that ASSE members and many others use to prevent workplace incidents. As a result, American workers stay safer, and many lives are saved.
“Chemical incidents don’t just impact an individual facility and its employees, they impact entire communities and often a substantial number of people around our nation,” said ASSE President Tom Cecich, CSP, CIH. “Understanding the cause of a serious incident benefits all of us. While we understand this Administration aims to make the government leaner, more effective and more accountable, removing the only federal agency solely dedicated to investigating chemical incidents hurts the efforts to build stronger manufacturing capabilities.”
Occupational safety and health professionals depend on the agency’s chemical incident reports and safety bulletins. The CSB also produces videos that are widely used for safety training as well as by emergency response teams. Hundreds of major chemical incident investigations have been conducted over decades.
“The CSB has directly contributed to employers’ and our members’ understanding of how best to keep safe the thousands of Americans who work in complex and dangerous chemical processing facilities, undoubtedly avoiding injuries and illness, and saving lives,” Cecich said. “The CSB’s investigations and reports enable the entire country to learn from chemical disasters. Without this mechanism, tragic events may be repeated.”
As a global advocate and leader for the occupational safety and health profession, ASSE embraces the CSB’s immeasurable value, and believes the agency’s important mission must be preserved.
“It’s important to have independent and technically supported investigations that lead to improved regulations and best practices,” said ASSE Senior Vice President Rixio Medina, CSP, CPP, a former presidential appointee to the CSB. “All CSB team leaders have chemical safety backgrounds. Sound recommendations prevent incident recurrences. Other agencies are not equipped to handle these specific investigations as effectively as the CSB.”
Founded in 1911, the Park Ridge, Illinois-based American Society of Safety Engineers is the oldest professional safety organization, committed to protecting people, property and the environment. Its membership of more than 37,000 occupational safety and health professionals lead, manage, research and consult on safety, health, transportation and environmental issues in all industries, government, labor, healthcare and education. For more information, visit www.asse.org.