April 30, 2001
The Honorable Christopher "Kit" Bond, Chairman
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) is pleased to comment on the proposed budget for the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). Since ASSE already enjoys a professional relationship with you, we will forego an introduction and instead enclose a fact sheet on the Society. However, we would like to point out that ASSE, founded in 1911, and now with almost 33,000 members, is the world's oldest, largest, and most diverse society of safety professionals. In your state alone, we have two chapters and almost 1,000 members.
As you are aware, a significant number of ASSE members have interest in chemical safety, which falls within the goals of the CSB and the ASSE mission of protecting people, property, and the environment. The CSB, whose mission is to ensure the safety of workers and the public by preventing chemical incidents, is seen by the Society as a scientific and investigative body, which moves beyond enforcement or regulatory responsibilities. It is important to note that the Board determines the root causes of accidents, issues safety recommendations, and performs special studies on chemical safety issues. The bottom line, for safety professionals, is that government agencies such as the CSB, provide the type of cutting edge information required by our members to prevent and ameliorate chemical releases and the resulting fatalities, injuries, and environmental contamination.
On April 12, 2001, CSB released its annual budget justification and performance plan for fiscal year (FY) 2002. The new budget, transmitted to Congress and the President, requests a reasonable and responsible appropriation of $9 million. During the current fiscal year, Congress appropriated $7.5 million for CSB operations, and just over $1 million of the requested increase is slated for personnel costs. This expenditure is reasonable due largely to the CSB successful hiring program over the last twelve months, which now includes highly skilled and respected safety professionals.
The requested increase should strengthen quality investigations and improve productivity. ASSE has also worked with CSB over the past several years. We are satisfied that the Agency is responding to the directions of Congress in a proactive and positive manner. The CSB is now a much more solid agency than it was even a year ago. In addition, it is important to note that the CSB is preparing to initiate a special investigation on reactive chemical hazards, which should be of significant assistance to those industries with such exposures.
In summary, the Society believes a viable CSB can be of significant benefit to employees, employers, professional safety and health organizations, and the country overall. ASSE calls on you to support the CSB in publishing investigative results, based on good science and sound technology, which will benefit all stakeholders.
We thank you for your attention to this matter, and if we can be of assistance please feel free to contact the Society.
Samuel J. Gualardo, CSP
ASSE Board of Directors
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