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CSB Investigators Deploying to Fire at ExxonMobil Refinery in Baton Rouge, LA

Washington DC, November 23, 2016 – A three person investigative team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is deploying to the scene of an incident that injured six workers – including four critically – on Tuesday, November 22 at the ExxonMobil Refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

According to initial inquiries, flammable vapors were released during unplanned maintenance around a pump. Although there was no explosion, the release ignited and caused a large fire.

“The CSB has investigated too many incidents at refineries across the country,” said Chairperson Vanessa Sutherland. “As an agency, we continue to be concerned about the safety of oil and gas workers and their surrounding communities. The management of risk is an important part of any high hazard operation.”

ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge Refinery is one of the country’s 150 refineries covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Process Safety Management regulations. Despite some positive initial steps toward improvement in process safety management at the federal level, CSB investigations have emphasized the need for a more comprehensive process safety management system in the U.S. to protect worker safety, public health, and the environment.  In fact, the modernization of process safety management regulations is one of the CSB’s Drivers of Critical Chemical Safety Change, a list of key chemical safety advocacy initiatives.

The CSB is an independent 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. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

For more information, contact public@csb.gov

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