December 13, 2019

Proposal Would Require Reporting of Accidental Chemical Releases within Four Hours

A rule proposed by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board would require business owners or operators to submit accidental release reports to CSB within four hours of a release. The proposed rule is intended to ensure that the agency receives quick and accurate reports of accidental releases of regulated substances or other extremely hazardous substances into the ambient air. According to CSB, the proposed reports would only require information that is already known or should be available to an owner or operator soon after an accidental release. CSB explains that the required information would be limited in scope to information required for the agency to make decisions regarding its jurisdiction, interagency coordination, and deployment. In the Federal Register notice outlining the proposal, CSB describes the importance of its investigators arriving at accident sites within the first 24 hours following a release.

“CSB has learned from experience that it is often crucial to begin an investigation within this timeframe to examine physical evidence before it is disturbed, and to interview witnesses while the facts and circumstances are still fresh,” the agency explains.

CSB is under court order to promulgate a final rule requiring the reporting of accidental chemical releases by Feb. 5, 2020. In February 2019, a U.S. District Court judge gave the agency 12 months to issue the rule. CSB will accept public comments on the proposed rule until Jan. 13, 2020.

For more information, see the Federal Register notice.