Federal agencies Manufacturing

Facing elimination, CSB publishes ‘Safety Spotlight’


Washington — States that have made “significant” safety improvements in recent years by incorporating Chemical Safety Board recommendations are highlighted in the agency’s inaugural Safety Spotlight publication.

CSB has issued 80 safety recommendations – stemming from 27 investigations – to 22 state governments. The recommendations range from “identifying risks and increasing safety inspections to developing and adopting significant, state-level chemical safety legislation,” the publication states. “Several states have taken significant steps to implement positive safety changes in light of chemical disasters.”

The two-page document, released Feb. 21, highlights four cases. In 2014, CSB recommended that California restructure and enhance its process safety management rules for oil refineries. The state’s newly modified Occupational Safety and Health Process Safety Management standard for its 15 petroleum refineries went into effect Oct. 1. CSB also points out that a similar change to Washington state’s PSM standard could come in 2019 – nine years after seven workers were killed in a Tesoro refinery fire in Anacortes.

The other two cases included are the 2010 Kleen Energy gas explosion in Middletown, CT, and a propane explosion that occurred in 2007 at a general store in Ghent, WV.

For the second straight fiscal year, CSB is among the agencies on President Donald Trump’s proposed budget chopping block. The House allocated $11 million to CSB in FY 2018 in its set of appropriations bills passed Sept. 14, but the Senate has not completed its work, leaving a series of continuing resolutions to fund the federal government.

The 20-year-old agency touted its value in a budget justification released Feb. 12 and has asked for $12.1 million for FY 2019. “The resources developed by the CSB will be used nationwide to prevent the loss of life, injuries and damage to surrounding communities that result from these preventable chemical incidents,” the agency states in its justification.

The Trump administration wants to allocate $9 million for the agency to wind down operations. The budget proposal states that CSB is targeted for elimination because of the “relative duplicative nature of [the agency’s] work, and the administration’s focus on streamlining functions across the federal government.”

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