Manufacturing Federal agencies

CSB will return to including names of victims in investigative reports

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Washington — The Chemical Safety Board has reversed course and will again include in its investigative reports the names of workers killed, as long as no immediate family member objects, the agency announced Sept. 17 during a public meeting.

“The names constitute basic, factual information and help to personalize the incidents for those seeking to learn from them,” CSB interim Executive Authority Kristen Kulinowski said. “It also means a lot to the families. With this amendment, inclusion of the names of the deceased as factual information related to the incident is now a policy rather than a sometimes practice.”

In a final report released June 12, CSB did not include the names of five workers killed in the 2018 Pryor Trust gas well blowout in Oklahoma. A June 25 agency report on a 2014 methyl mercaptan release at a DuPont plant in La Porte, TX, also did not include the names of four workers who died.

A group of more than 50 advocates, including the executive directors of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health, sent a letter to CSB voicing their concerns. United Support and Memorial for Workplace Fatalities – an organization for family members who have lost loved ones in workplace incidents – sent its own letter asking the agency to include the names of deceased workers in its reports.

Kulinowski instructed CSB’s general counsel to report 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 Office of the General Counsel’s report did not note any “insurmountable barriers,” Kulinowski said, and CSB affirmed the new policy.

“It’s good to know that the CSB gave thoughtful consideration to strong feedback from workers, families, advocates, and occupational safety and health experts,” Peter Dooley, health and safety project consultant at National COSH, said in a Sept. 17 press release. “The CSB and other safety agencies must do everything possible to gather the facts about how workers died in order to prevent further tragedies. The first step is knowing who the people are who lost their lives.”

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