Monday, March 29, 2021

Chemical Safety Board is short on board members

Fifteen months ago, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board issued a final report on two explosions that killed three people in Barbour County. The agency hasn’t issued another final report or safety recommendation since.

Charged with investigating industrial chemical incidents, the board averaged 40 new recommendations annually in its first 21 years of operations dating to 1998. The agency has a backlog of 18 unfinished investigations dating to 2016. The second most recent incident was the Dec. 8 explosion at Optima Belle’s chemical facility in Belle that killed one worker and injured two others.

Earlier this month, the agency released an update, noting it was working with Optima Belle to sample and test chlorinated dry bleach powder. The company was performing a process to remove water from chlorinated dry bleach when the blast occurred in an industrial dryer unit.

Don’t expect the Chemical Safety Board’s final report soon.

The shortest span between a chemical incident in West Virginia and the agency’s final report was the 20 months between a propane explosion at a Little General convenience store and gas station in Raleigh County in January 2007. The agency released a final report in September 2008.

That was before the chemical safety watchdog was neutered by the Trump administration.

Composed of members appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, the board currently has featured one member, Chairman and CEO Katherine A. Lemos, instead of the usual five for the past nine months. The board’s members dwindled one by one under Trump. The former president chose no new members after previous members resigned following his appointment of Lemos in 2019.

CSB seems like an organization that has been deeply damaged over the last 10 years or so, and the Trump Administration didn't seem to help much...

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looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20