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Industrial Safety

U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s internal woes could thwart its mission

by Glenn Hess, special to C&EN
June 10, 2018 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 96, ISSUE 24

 

The lack of authority that the head of the U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has over other board members could hinder the organization’s mission of helping prevent industrial chemical accidents, federal investigators warn. EPA’s Office of Inspector General, which conducts oversight of the board, notes in a report that CSB has been plagued with leadership issues, such as tension among board members and complaints of alleged abuses by board members or the chairperson. The problem, according to the report, is that the law that created CSB does not give the chairperson a supervisory role over the other members of the board. “Without the authority for the chairperson to take corrective actions against board members, an environment exists that may enable ‘rogue’ behaviors that can potentially impede CSB’s mission and lower the morale among CSB’s career staff,” the report says. The EPA auditors recommend that the board ask Congress to provide the CSB chairperson with authority to address “inappropriate or destabilizing board member behaviors.”

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