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Dec 22, 2008

In First Video Safety Message, CSB Chairman John Bresland Calls for Industry to Remain Focused on Process Safety, Accident Prevention During Recession

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For more information, go to: View Safety Message on YouTube

Washington, DC, December 22, 2008 - In his first video safety message, CSB Chairman John Bresland today said that chemical companies and refineries need to continue to invest in process safety and preventive maintenance, even as the economic downturn cuts into sales and profits.

The four-minute video message was released on YouTube.com (http://www.youtube.com/safetymessages) and the text was posted on Blogger.com (http://safetymessages.blogspot.com).

"My safety message for oil and chemical companies is clear: even during economic downturns, spending for needed process safety measures must be maintained," Chairman Bresland stated in the message. He noted that the CSB investigation of the 2005 Texas City refinery disaster linked the accident to corporate spending decisions in the 1990s, when low oil prices triggered cutbacks in maintenance, training, and operator positions at the plant.

"Unfortunately, around the country, refinery accidents continue to be a concern," Chairman Bresland said, pointing to three major accidents that occurred at refineries in Texas this year, including a fire at a refinery in Tyler last month that fatally burned two workers and forced the refinery to shut down for months. "Today, as gasoline prices remain low, companies should weigh each decision to make sure that the safety of plant workers, contractors, and communities is protected."

Safety Messages are a new communication tool for the agency, consisting of short videos from the Chairman or the other board members. In the coming weeks and months, new messages will be released on a variety of current issues in chemical process safety.

"I encourage all of our stakeholders to join the discussion on YouTube.com and Blogger.com and share their thoughts about the subject of these messages," Chairman Bresland said. Comments and ideas for future Safety Messages can also be emailed to safetymessages@csb.gov.

The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. 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.

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. Visit our website, www.csb.gov.

For more information, contact Daniel Horowitz at (202) 261-7613 or Hillary Cohen at (202) 261-3601.

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