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Chemical Safety Board Meeting

July 29, 2020
Katherine Lemos chair of the Chemical Safety Board

Katherine Lemos, chair of the Chemical Safety Board

On Friday of this week, the Chemical Safety Board will hold an open meeting. Members of the public can call in, but there is no video.

The following is the agenda for the meeting.

The Board will discuss open investigations, the status of audits from the Office of the Inspector General, financial and organizational updates via conference call. The “new business” portion of the meeting will include the possible release of the Kuraray investigation report as well as a discussion led by the Chairman on future plans of the board and how it will be moving forward with a “quorum of one.”

The reference to the “quorum of one” is to do with the fact that the Board currently has just one member, the chair person, Dr. Katherine Lemos. She is new to the position, having been confirmed in March 2020.

The CSB conducts in-depth analyses of incidents at chemical facilities. Their reports are detailed and thorough. They are also often supported by videos illustrating how the incident occurred.

One limitation of the reports is that that they are too limited — they do not provide generalized conclusions that can be used by the process safety community at large. For example, their report to do with the Nitrous Oxide explosion in 2016 at an Airgas facility provides specific recommendations to do with the handling and control of nitrous oxide. These recommendations have little generic value because very few companies actually handle nitrous oxide.

The report does critique the Airgas Management of Change program, but it would be more useful were they to view the incident through a process safety management lens, maybe in tabular form, i.e., to list each of the elements, and to show how they contributed (both good and bad) to the incident.

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