September 23, 2011 - Today I wish to applaud William E. Wright and William B. Wark on their five year terms as CSB Board Members, which were completed yesterday. Both are dedicated public servants, who vigorously supported the CSB’s mission and work from the day they were both appointed in September 2006.
Member Wark, who had spent much of his prior four-decade career in emergency management, participated in a number of CSB deployments to major accident sites, including the 2010 heat exchanger rupture at the Tesoro Refinery in Anacortes, Washington; the 2008 dust explosion at the Imperial Sugar facility in Port Wentworth, Georgia; and the gas explosion at ConAgra Foods in Garner, North Carolina. Throughout his tenure at the CSB Member Wark demonstrated his dedication to seeing our safety recommendations implemented. Most recently, this included attendance at a bill signing in Hartford, Connecticut, that permanently banned the deadly practice of using flammable gases to clean fuel gas piping during power plant construction, a recommendation from a 2010 accident at Kleen Energy in Middletown, Connecticut.
Member Wright, a retired Navy captain and explosives expert who served as CSB interim executive in 2007-2008, was equally vigorous in supporting the Board’s work. In 2007 he called on the American Petroleum Institute (API) to strengthen its draft recommended practices for the use and siting of trailers in refineries and chemical plants. That urgent recommendation resulted from the March 2005 explosion at the BP Texas City refinery where fifteen contract workers were killed inside trailers. Member Wright’s advocacy resulted in a better industry standard that is helping ensure the safety of workers in petrochemical facilities across the country. Member Wright has deployed to a number of catastrophic chemical accidents, including the 2006 explosion at the CAI/Arnel ink factory in Danvers, Massachusetts, and the massive gasoline explosion at the Caribbean Petroleum storage terminal outside San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Both Mr. Wright and Mr. Wark were steadfast in their support for a federal OSHA standard for combustible dust, and Mr. Wright testified in support of such standard before the House of Representatives in 2008.
American workers and businesses are safer from the efforts of these two distinguished and able men. I wish them both every success as they return to private life.
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious 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 regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA, legislatures, corporations, industry organizations, labor groups, and other institutions that can prevent similar events in the future. Visit our website, www.csb.gov.
For more information, contact CSB Communications Manager Hillary Cohen, 202-446-8094, or Sandy Gilmour, 202-261-7614 or cell 202-251-5496.