Manufacturing Federal agencies

CSB says policies will be reexamined after recent reports omit names of workers who died

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Washington — The Chemical Safety Board will look into its recent decision to not include in its reports the names of workers who died in chemical incidents, interim Executive Authority Kristen Kulinowski said during a June 25 public business meeting.

Kulinowski’s statement was made in response to two letters: One signed by a group of more than 50 advocates, including the executive directors of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, and another from United Support and Memorial for Workplace Fatalities.

“I understand the concerns expressed by these organizations,” Kulinowski said. “I have directed our general counsel to come back to the board with a recommended course of action informed by laws, regulations, other federal government agencies’ policies where there’s an investigative component and public reporting, and other relevant information.”

The letter from the group including National COSH claims CSB has listed the names of deceased workers in its reports since 2014. That was not the case in the agency’s recent final report on the 2018 blowout of the Pryor Trust gas well in Oklahoma that killed five workers. A June 25 report on a 2014 methyl mercaptan release at a DuPont plant in La Porte, TX, also didn’t include the names of the four workers who died.

“A dedication page with the names of victims of fatal chemical safety incidents is a simple, but powerful fact that these individuals are not statistics. They were husbands, sons, fathers, and co-workers whose deaths were preventable,” the June 17 letter states.

That letter also noted that the Mine Safety and Health Administration includes names in its fatality reports, as did the 2011 report of the National Commission on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, which killed 11 workers.

 

CSB Board Member Rick Engler expressed his disagreement with the exclusion of the names in the DuPont report, in a statement released June 18 and read at the June 25 meeting.

“The board should establish a formal policy to include the names and ages of individuals who perished in all future investigation reports,” Engler said.

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