Thursday, December 17, 2009

Starved watchdog: Plant-safety agency needs more funding, staff | Editorial | - Houston Chronicle

Starved watchdog: Plant-safety agency needs more funding, staff Editorial - Houston Chronicle

Well the CSB is in the spot light again. It has been a long standing fight to get the CSB fully funded. I don’t necessarily agree with the articles idea of who the CSB has investigated they state:

If only a few workers die in an industrial accident, we won't pry. That seems to be the philosophy of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB)

Well there was only one killed (Shawn Boone) in 2003 at Hayes Lemmerz and there was a full investigation into the plant and Combustible Dust as a whole. However I do feel politics and funds get in the way of what is investigated.

Explosions at two Houston-area facilities within a single week have killed one, injured several more and alarmed thousands of residents near the Valero Energy Corp.'s Texas City oil refinery and the American Acryl facility in Seabrook. In response to requests for an investigation of the mishaps, CSB chair John Bresland told the Chronicle's Stewart M. Powell that his agency's staff was already maxed out with 16 ongoing probes and could not take on the latest incidents in Texas.“We would like to investigate more accidents,” he said, “but that would require additional resources from Congress.”

The article sites the CSB:

1. is failing to live up to its statutory responsibilities specified by the Clean Air Act passed in 1990.

2. has failed to investigate all accidental chemical releases that caused fatalities, serious injuries, substantial property damage or the risk of such occurrences.

3. is understaffed and underfunded.

4. still has a Board 2 not 1 vacancy.

5. needs to publicize their votes with a an explanation.

Well 1-3 can be taken care of if the CSB just gains more funding. What the heck is the stimulus for this? We know this would create jobs and it would serve a greater good purpose.

I the government would get off their butts and appoint new board members that would be solved.

The sad thing is all of the above involves politics, will the CSB get funding, will they be fair and transparent, will they gain new board members it all comes down to political opinions. It seems such a shame that with all the good work the CSB has done our politicians would let it go downhill. Will we see another OSHA, an outdated, company/Chamber driven, you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours, that spins their wheels and waist money, time and resources?

Well it doesn’t have to be. Just write you government officials, the Education and Labor Committee and the CSB and tell them you sick of all the bs. Tell them your concerns and that the CSB is of utmost importance but only if it is working!

One last note: I cant help thinking of Carolyn Merritt. Some of her last moments were spent fighting for the CSB and combustible dust and I have a few things i could add but it may not be appropriate for the blog or in general but I do know that if she insisted on the fight she felt it was a worth while cause.

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