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‘We are a strong agency’: Chemical Safety Board touts 2023 achievements


Washington — Fiscal year 2023 marked a “banner year” for the Chemical Safety Board, which issued a record number of investigative reports while increasing its staff.

Speaking during an Oct. 26 public business meeting, CSB member Sylvia Johnson added that CSB is on track to clear its backlog of five investigations by Dec. 31.

“We want to reassure the public, communities and workers that we are a strong agency and excited about the future of the CSB,” said Johnson, whom CSB Chair Steve Owens authorized to conduct the meeting in his absence.

The agency issued final reports on 10 investigations in FY 2023, the largest total in a fiscal year since CSB was established in 1998.

Each report includes safety recommendations. Chuck Barbee, CSB’s director of recommendations, said the agency’s 954 total recommendations in FY 2023 surpassed its 869 FY 2022 total.

“We are rapidly approaching the 1,000-recommendation milestone and looking forward to it,” Barbee said.

Additionally, 10 new staff members joined the agency this past fiscal year. They include four chemical incident investigators and one supervisory chemical incident investigator.

Johnson also pointed to CSB’s outreach efforts, namely ongoing communication with United Steelworkers “to discuss ways in which the CSB and USW can mutually improve and ensure a safe working environment for all workers.”

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