Frank Lautenberg, the New Jersey senator credited with helping create the Chemical Safety Board, has died at age 89.
In a statement, CSB Chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso called Lautenberg the “father of the agency,” who worked to establish, fund and sustain the agency.
“It was due to the senator’s commitment to the safety of workers and the surrounding community that the CSB received its first funding following a violent, reactive chemical explosion that occurred in 1995 in Lodi, NJ, fatally injuring five workers,” he said. The tragedy happened only a few miles from Lautenberg’s boyhood neighborhood.
Moure-Eraso said he was moved by the senator’s “fervent commitment to worker and community safety, and on the need to take the actions needed to prevent these terrible chemical accidents.”
Given the reports CSB has released in recent years calling on OSHA to promulgate or strengthen standards on combustible dust, natural gas and confined spaces, the agency can be a strong advocate for improving workplace safety – some criticism notwithstanding.
CSB’s creation is just one of the ways the senator impacted health and safety in this country. In addition to creating legislation that banned smoking on airplanes and landmark drunk-driving laws, Lautenberg authored legislation that allowed the public to know what pollutants are being released into their neighborhood.
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