Strong safety programs are critical for the economic success of the chemical and petrochemical industries, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), which has released a “Business Case for Safety” that underlines that theme. Through the document, the CSB makes a case not only for safety is good for business, but also for how the agency itself plays a  vital role in chemical safety in the U.S.

That point comes on the heels of a budget proposal released last month by President Donald Trump that would eliminate the CSB, which is charged with investigating accidents in the chemical industry and making recommendations to prevent future accidents.

From Deepwater Horizon to West Fertilizer

Included in the business case are the costs associated with the 2005 explosion and fire at BP Texas City, the 2010 explosion and fire aboard the Macondo/Deepwater Horizon oil rig, the 2012 explosion and fire at the Chevron Refinery and the 2013 fire and massive explosion at West Fertilizer. Each of the four CSB accident investigation details both human and financial tolls which these incidents had on the company and the surrounding communities.

The CSB’s “Business Case for Safety” emphasizes that based on its more than 130 incidents, it is clear that hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent as a result of chemical disasters in the United States. To ensure the safety of all Americans it is critical that chemical safety lesson are learned and shared among diverse stakeholders and across industries to prevent accidents.

Prevention saves money

Chairperson Sutherland said, “If the CSB’s many safety lessons prevented at least one catastrophic incident, the money saved by preventing damage to the facility and surrounding community, avoiding legal settlements, and saving human lives far exceeds the agency’s $11 million annual budget.”

The CSB says its continued collaboration with industry, regulators, standards setting bodies and other professional organizations proves that the CSB has a vital role in driving critical chemical safety change in the United States.

About the CSB

The CSB is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency whose mission is to drive chemical safety change through independent investigations to protect people and the environment. The agency’s board members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical incidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.