September 8, 2022

CSB Publishes Guidance on Reporting of Accidental Releases

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) has published guidance intended to facilitate compliance with an agency rule that requires owners and operators of fixed facilities to notify CSB within eight hours of an accidental release. The guidance clarifies that the goal of the accidental release reporting rule is to help the agency decide when to initiate investigations and that the information CSB requires in these reports should already be known or should be readily available to owners and operators. The guidance also states that submitting the required information should take no longer than ten minutes.

“While many companies already have been complying with the rule and submitting their required reports, this guidance should help resolve any uncertainties about the reporting requirement,” said CSB Interim Executive Steve Owens. “If someone is unsure about what to do, they should report, rather than risk violating the rule.”

The accidental release reporting rule (PDF) was published in the Federal Register on Feb. 5, 2020. It includes a clause that allows owners and operators to update their reports within 30 days following an incident if information was accidentally left off the initial report or if a mistake was made during its submission. Any accidental release that results in a fatality, serious injury, or substantial property damage is covered by the rule. Facilities that fail to report an incident face possible enforcement actions by EPA.

The guidance includes an FAQ that addresses specific questions about the rule. Stakeholders can download the guidance as a PDF from the CSB website.

Since the accidental release reporting rule went into effect, CSB has been notified of 162 incidents. Twenty-five of these incidents resulted in at least one fatality, 92 in serious injuries, and 68 in substantial property damage. The agency released a list of these incidents in July. This list, along with additional information about the rule, including an accidental release reporting form, is available from the CSB website.