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NTSB staffing boost includes influx of incident investigators


NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy (right) stands with some of the 15 new agency employees. Photo: National Transportation Safety Board

Washington — Aiming to keep pace with emerging technologies and reduce the time needed to complete investigations, the National Transportation Safety Board has hired a record number of staff this year.

Among that total: a growing complement of investigators in the Office of Rail, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Investigations, which had NTSB on track to clear a backlog of nearly 450 investigations by the end of fiscal year 2023 (Sept. 30).

The agency announced on Sept. 27 that it expected to have 433 employees by the end of the fiscal year – a 9.1% increase over four years. That includes an almost 50% jump in rail, pipeline and hazardous materials investigators.

Additionally, the Air Traffic Control Division within NTSB’s Office of Aviation Safety is fully staffed for the first time in seven years, per an agency press release, which notes that the “NTSB workforce had remained flat” since the mid-1990s despite numerous advances in transportation technologies.

“My vision for NTSB is an agency where everything we do – from our investigations to our advocacy to our internal processes and procedures – advances our critical safety mission,” NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said in the release. “The first step was to right-size our agency’s workforce, which had been stagnant for decades, because it is our people who will ensure the NTSB is a ‘mission-first’ agency for years to come.”

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