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Chemical | Manufacturing

CSB not completing investigations in a timely manner, report says

August 13, 2013

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Washington – The Chemical Safety Board has not met its objective to complete “timely, high quality” investigations, concludes a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General.

Released July 31, the report states that CSB lacks an effective management system and names several reasons for the agency’s failure to finish investigations in a timely manner. In addition to an average investigative staff turnover rate of 15 percent, the board has poor file-keeping practices and a backlog of open investigations without a plan to resolve them, according to the OIG report.

CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso disputed the turnover percentage. In a response to the draft report included with the final report, Moure-Eraso said EPA OIG does not follow common practices for determining turnover. By CSB’s calculation, he said, the agency’s voluntary turnover rate is 9 percent and is declining.

While acknowledging that CSB has made some improvements, such as beginning to conduct semiannual investigator training conferences, the report made several recommendations. Those include setting performance indicators to assess the efficiency of the investigative process, updating investigation procedures, and developing a close-out plan for investigations that have been open more than three years.