CSB declares Florida inaction ‘unacceptable’

Washington – The Chemical Safety Board on July 18 issued an “unacceptable response” designation to Florida for failing to adopt CSB’s safety and health recommendations for public workers following a 2006 explosion at a Daytona Beach wastewater treatment plant.

This marks the first time CSB has closed a state recommendation in this manner. Two city workers died in the blast, which CSB concluded could have been prevented by compliance with federal OSHA regulations. (OSHA standards apply to private workers, and Florida law does not require similar standards for public employees.) CSB recommended that Florida enact legislation requiring state and local agencies to implement safety policies “at least as effective” as OSHA’s and develop a workplace safety and health consultation program for Florida public employees.

However, as CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso noted in a letter (.pdf file) to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), bills extending safety and health protections to public workers failed to pass the state legislature in 2009 and 2010, and no such bill has been introduced this year.

When reached for comment, Brian Burgess, the governor’s communications director, said, “While Gov. Scott campaigned on a platform of reducing burdensome regulation, he is also committed to ensuring a safe workplace environment for employees.”

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