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CSB: Reform PSM regulations now to prevent future disasters


Washington – On the 30th anniversary of an industrial toxic gas release that killed tens of thousands of people in India, the Chemical Safety Board called on the United States to reform state and federal regulations to reduce the risk of other disasters occurring.

CSB investigations of U.S. industrial incidents have found deficiencies similar to those that contributed to the December 1984 disaster at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, according to a newly released CSB video.

Deficiencies include the absence of process hazard analysis, poorly maintained equipment and safety systems, and inadequate training for operators handling dangerous chemicals. Current federal and state regulations do not focus enough on using preventive measures or continuously reducing process risk, CSB claims.

“Process safety management regulations are in need of reform,” CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said in the video. “There must be more emphasis on preventing the occurrence of major chemical accidents through safer design.”

CSB also announced it has added the modernization of PSM regulations as a Most Wanted Safety Improvement. A Bhopal-level disaster could happen again if process safety regulations are not modernized, CSB warns.