chemical plantImprovements were made in U.S. chemical safety and security following the devastating 2013 West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion, but a report issued earlier this month makes it clear how much more remains to be done.

The interagency status report released to President Obama entitled Actions to Improve Chemical Facility Safety and Security – A Shared Commitment summarizes the progress of a Working Group comprised of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the EPA, OSHA and other federal partners.

It identified “priority actions” to:

  • Strengthen Community Planning and Preparedness
  • Enhance Federal Operational Coordination
  • Improve Data Management
  • Modernize Policies and Regulation
  • Incorporate Stakeholder Feedback and Develop Best Practices

“We want to underscore that this report is a milestone, not an endpoint,” according to a post on Work in Progress, the official blog of the Department of Labor. The post was co-authored by Caitlin Durkovich of the DHS, OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels, and the EPA’s Mathy Stanislaus.

“While the report describes many activities already undertaken to improve chemical facility safety and security, it also makes clear that much additional work is necessary to implement the consolidated action plan. We now transition to this implementation, an effort that will be completed over time and require the collective efforts of all of us with a stake in chemical facility safety and security.”

The status report incorporates feedback from industry, state and local governments, and community stakeholders across the country and provides detailed information on the continued government coordination and collaboration to further reduce risks to chemical facility workers and operators, communities and responders.

The Working Group was the result of Executive Order 13650 - Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, issued by President Obama in the wake of the West, Texas incident.

Click here to read Actions to Improve Chemical Facility Safety and Security – A Shared Commitment.

Click here to read the DOL blog post.