CSB: Chemical Safety Is Good for Business

Published April 26, 2017

Earlier this month, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) published a new document that makes a “business case for safety” and outlines the agency’s impact on chemical safety in the U.S. CSB, the non-regulatory federal agency that investigates industrial chemical accidents and makes recommendations for improving the safety of plants, workers, and communities, has investigated more than 130 incidents since it became operational in January 1998. The agency’s new document summarizes the costs associated with its examination of four major chemical disasters: the 2013 explosion at a fertilizer storage facility in West, Texas; the 2012 explosion at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, Calif.; the 2010 Deepwater Horizon/Macondo well blowout; and the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion. Collectively, these four incidents alone killed 41 people, injured hundreds, and cost billions of dollars in insurance-related losses, fines and restitution, settlements, economic and medical claims, and other financial losses.

“If the CSB’s many safety lessons prevented at least one catastrophic incident, the money saved by preventing damage to the facility and surrounding community, avoiding legal settlements, and saving human lives far outweighs the agency’s $11 million annual budget,” the agency concludes.

According to CSB, chemical safety lessons must be learned and shared among diverse stakeholders across industries in order to make Americans’ safety a top priority. The agency maintains that safety and prosperity are compatible, and that strong safety programs are critical for the economic success of the chemical and petrochemical industries.

See CSB’s new document on the agency’s website (PDF).