Response Planning, Preventive Focus Put on CSB Wish List

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By Sam Pearson

July 19 — Improved emergency response and planning and preventive maintenance have been added to a list of safety improvements the U.S. Chemical Safety Board identified as priorities.

The two items could go a long way in preventing safety incidents at plants, the CSB said in two statements released on its website July 15.

Since 2013, the CSB has kept a list of what it calls its “most wanted” safety improvements. The list also includes modernizing process safety management rules through updating Occupational Safety and Health Administration's combustible dust standard and Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The board statements said emergency planning and response and a lack of preventive maintenance at facilities frequently plays a role in incidents the board investigates, including at the 2012 Chevron Corp. refinery fire in Richmond, Calif. and a fatal explosion at the Tesoro Corp. refinery in Anacortes, Wash.

Twelve investigations have produced 46 recommendations that relate to a lack of proper emergency response planning, the board said, adding that 11 incidents spurred 21 open recommendations involving insufficient preventative maintenance.

The board cannot issue regulations to spur the adoption of the improvements, but can keep advocating that chemical plants do more on these issues.

Board Member Manuel Ehrlich will take the lead on encouraging more plants to boost emergency response efforts, while Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland will serve as the point person for the issue of preventive maintenance, the statements said.

Former chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso started the “most wanted” improvements program in 2012, describing it as the most cost-effective way for the small agency to raise awareness of its priorities among other government agencies.

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For More Information

The CSB's list of most wanted safety improvements is available at

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