CSB Examines Workers’ Role in Chemical Incident Prevention

September 4, 2019

2 Min Read
CSB Examines Workers’ Role in Chemical Incident Prevention
A new CSB Safety Digest discusses how worker participation can help present chemical incidents. Image courtesy of NY State Department of Labor on Flickr

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) issued a new safety digest Wednesday on the value of worker participation to prevent chemical incidents. The digest notes that lack of worker participation was a factor in several major incidents investigated by the CSB because workers and their representatives were not engaged to help identify hazards and reduce risks. 

CSB Board Member Rick Engler said, “Worker engagement is key to an effective process safety program.  After all, it’s employees who are so often in direct contact with the hazards -- and have the experience and knowledge to help prevent them.”
 
The digest discusses four incidents that led to a total of 13 employee deaths, many injuries, and, in one case, 15,000 residents living near the facility seeking medical evaluation.  The incidents took place at an explosives manufacturing site, a chemical production facility, and two oil refineries.  They occurred in Nevada, Washington, California, and Louisiana. Each of these CSB investigations found that worker participation programs were inadequate, despite the existence of federal regulations and industry standards.
 
The CSB is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency whose mission is to drive chemical safety change through independent investigations to protect people and the environment. The agency’s board members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

To view the CSB’s safety digest, click here.

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