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Chemical Safety Board Chairperson Statement

The following is statement from presidentially appointed and senate-confirmed Chemical Safety Board (CSB) chairperson Vanessa A. Sutherland:

I am honored to begin my five-year term as Chemical Safety Board (CSB) chairperson and member. I look forward to a highly productive and collaborative experience with my fellow board members and the CSB's staff.  

I have spent the last four years as chief counsel for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) at the U.S. Department of Transportation, allowing me a strong background and understanding of the functioning of government, and perhaps more importantly the value of safety. I also have worked at the U.S. Department of Energy in the Inspector General’s office and for regulated companies, which I hope will allow me to communicate with our varied stakeholders to articulate our mission, work and expertise.

As I said at my confirmation hearing, I believe that safety is a shared responsibility. That responsibility extends far beyond the corridors of K street, as well as a facility’s fence lines. Safety extends into the homes and communities that are most impacted by the devastating accidents that the CSB is responsible for investigating – accidents that forever affect families and communities.

I am excited to lead the CSB in executing its important mission. Together, we can and will achieve meaningful safety change that works towards the elimination of and mitigation of serious chemical accidents, and protects workers, the public, and the environment.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical incidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure, as well as inadequacies in safety management systems. The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA.

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