Question of the Week: What is the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board?

Posted on 4/5/2011 by James Griffin

Q. I heard in the news that the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) was sending a team to investigate a workplace fire in Tennessee. So, what is the CSB, and what does it do?
A. The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is an independent agency of the Federal Government that investigates the root causes of chemical accidents at industrial facilities and makes safety recommendations to prevent future accidents. 
Congress created the CSB as part of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, though the Board did not begin operations until 1998. Inspired by the model of the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB), the CSB is a completely independent agency, separate from any other government department.
Although the Board coordinates with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), its investigations are completely separate from the rulemaking, inspection, or enforcement functions of other agencies. In this way the CSB’s investigations can identify hazards and causes not already regulated by OSHA or the EPA; and the Board’s safety recommendations can address shortcomings in the safety regulations promulgated by OSHA and EPA.
When the CSB completes an investigation they may issue safety recommendations to industry, labor organizations, and other government agencies describing practices that could prevent future accidents.
In addition to its investigations and safety recommendations the CSB raises awareness of chemical safety hazards by creating videos that dramatize high profile accidents and explain the hazards of chemical industrial facilities.

Tags: Act, Air, Clean, EPA

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