Well, actually, the Chronicle’s headline warning of “death and destruction” was from a quote by chemical safety consultant Paul Orum about Trump’s proposal to eliminate the Chemical Safety Board (CSB).
While little known to the masses, the CSB is to chemical disasters what the much better-funded National Transportation Safety Board is to airline crashes, train derailments and bridge collapses. Without the recommendations that come from these boards, preventable accidents repeat themselves.
Gutting the CSB is “standing up for death and destruction,” said chemical safety consultant Paul Orum. “It’s disrespectful to those killed in such incidents.”
Shakeel Kadri, president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, said his group supports the CSB and says the agency’s independent investigations are critical. “We can’t do that. I don’t see anyone else being able to do that, either,” he said….Sam Mannan, director of the Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center at Texas A&M University, called elimination of the CSB a “really sad matter. Everyone uses the CSB’s videos and reports,” he said.
Orum expects that cooler heads will prevail. No one wants a major chemical disaster in their district, especially after they voted against the only agency that performs thorough investigations. “Chemical incidents are highly visible when they happen,” he said. “There’s smoke, flames and news cameras. If it looks like they’ve undermined safety, it could come back to bite them.”