According to a recent report (Aug. 2008) from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) is not in compliance with its statutory mandates. The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents and has been in operation since 1998. GAO report states that CSB is not investigating all chemical releases that have a fatality, serious injury, substantial property damage, or the potential for a fatality, serious injury, or substantial property damage.
The following table summarizes CSB performance in 2006-2007. 20062007Total accidents recorded in CSB database822920Accidents with Fatalities3835Accidents CSB Investigated65Accidents with Fatalities CSB Investigated51
CSB is limited by budget and resources as to how many incidents it can investigate. GAO has recommended that CSB request the necessary resources from Congress to meet CSB’s statutory mandate or seek an amendment to its statutory mandate. Alternatively, GAO makes the following recommendations to help CSB cover more incidents.
- consider using the work of government agencies, companies, and contractors, to a greater extent to maximize the board’s limited resources;
- improve the quality of its accident-screening database by better controlling data entry and periodically sampling accident data to evaluate their consistency and completeness;
- publish a regulation requiring facilities to report all chemical accidents, as required by law, to better inform the agency of important details about accidents that it may not receive from current sources;
To download a pdf copy of the GAO report on CSB click on the link below:
Chemical Safety Board: Improvements in Management and Oversight Are Needed.