Washington, D.C., July 15, 2016 – Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) formally announced that “Emergency Planning and Response” is the Board’s newest “Most Wanted Safety Improvement”, concluding that inadequate or poor emergency planning or response is a recurring finding in the CSB’s investigations.
CSB Board Member Manuel “Manny” Ehrlich – who will serve as the champion for this issue with support from the board members – said, “As a 50-year veteran of the chemical industry I know far too well the importance of a robust emergency response program. I have responded to and investigated numerous chemical incidents in my career and look forward to sharing the important safety information in CSB reports and safety videos. ”
To date, 12 CSB investigations and 46 resulting recommendations are aimed to address deficiencies found in a community’s, facility’s or emergency responder’s response to an incident at a chemical facility. The CSB’s recommendations department determined that the majority of CSB’s recommendations on this issue can be categorized in the following areas:
· Training for emergency responders, including hazardous materials training;
· Local emergency planning, and community response plans and teams;
· Use of community notification systems;
· Use of an incident command system and the National Incident Management System;
· Conducting emergency response exercises;
· Information sharing between facilities, emergency responders and the community;
The CSB’s history of examining emergency response issues spans well over a decade. In 2009 the CSB released a safety video detailing a number of related issues and recommendations
Despite the CSB’s many recommendations, emergency responders continue to be fatally injured due to poor emergency planning or response. Most recently 12 emergency responders were fatally injured as a result of the 2013 ammonium nitrate explosion and fire at the West Fertilizer Company located in West, Texas. The CSB’s final report contained a number of recommendations intended to improve the training of volunteer fire departments across the country.
The CSB’s full report, safety video and recommendations can be found at:
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating signifigant 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 makes safety recommendations to companies, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA. Please visit our website, www.csb.gov.
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