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Faced with elimination, Chemical Safety Board highlights its responsibilities

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The current members of the Chemical Safety Board (left to right): Kristen Kulinowski, Manuel "Manny" Ehrlich, Vanessa A. Sutherland and Rick Engler

Photo: Chemical Safety Board

Washington – The Chemical Safety Board, targeted for elimination in the Trump administration’s budget blueprint released March 16, has published a two-page summary of the agency’s overall merits as well as a video of its 2016 accomplishments.

The board notes that, of the 19 independent agencies marked for de-funding in fiscal year 2018, CSB is the only one that operates under a safety mandate.

“A budget that puts America first must make the safety of our people its number one priority – because without safety, there can be no prosperity,” CSB states in the document’s introduction.

Also highlighted in “Roles and Responsibilities of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board”:

  • The mission of CSB is to drive chemical safety change through independent investigations to protect people and the environment.
  • CSB is independent and non-regulatory, and thus removed from such rulemaking and enforcement agencies as OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Investigations are transparent – CSB makes investigative materials available online and holds on-scene press briefings and public hearings.
  • Investigations examine and make recommendations to both the regulator and the regulated; CSB issues only preventive recommendations, and no civil or criminal liability stems from investigations.
  • Safety reports, recommendations, videos and other CSB products routinely are used as resources for industrial training, and also serve academia and professional organizations.

“The American public is safer today as a result of the work of dedicated and professional staff of the CSB,” agency Chairperson Vanessa A. Sutherland said in a statement. “As this process moves forward, we hope that the important mission of this agency will be preserved.”

According to the document, CSB has investigated more than 130 major chemical incidents in its history and issued 788 safety recommendations – of which 78 percent have been closed. Further, the board investigated four incidents in 2016, hosted two interim public meetings and received more than 1 million views on its YouTube page.

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