CSB Chairman Calls for Focus On Process Safety, Accident Prevention During Recession

In his first video safety message on Dec. 22, U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) Chairman John Bresland said that chemical companies and refineries need to continue to invest in process safety and preventive maintenance, even as the economic downturn cuts into sales and profits.

The four-minute video message was released on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/safetymessages) and the text was posted on Blogger.com (http://safetymessages.blogspot.com).

"My safety message for oil and chemical companies is clear: even during economic downturns, spending for needed process safety measures must be maintained," Bresland stated in the message. He noted that the CSB investigation of the 2005 Texas City refinery disaster linked the accident to corporate spending decisions in the 1990s, when low oil prices triggered cutbacks in maintenance, training and operator positions at the plant.

"Unfortunately, around the country, refinery accidents continue to be a concern," Bresland said, pointing to three major accidents that occurred at refineries in Texas this year, including a fire at a refinery in Tyler last month that fatally burned two workers and forced the refinery to shut down for months. "Today, as gasoline prices remain low, companies should weigh each decision to make sure that the safety of plant workers, contractors, and communities is protected."

Safety Messages are a new communication tool for the agency, consisting of short videos from Bresland or the other board members. In the coming weeks and months, new messages will be released on a variety of current issues in chemical process safety.

"I encourage all of our stakeholders to join the discussion on YouTube.com and Blogger.com and share their thoughts about the subject of these messages," Bresland said.
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