AMERICAN SOCIETY OF SAFETY ENGINEERS
1800 East Oakton Street
Des Plaines, Illinois 60018-2187
June 1, 2004
The Honorable James T. Walsh
Subcommitee on Veterans Affairs, HUD
and Independent Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
H-143 Capitol Building
Washington, DC 20515-6022
Dear Chairman Walsh:
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) represents 30,000 safety, health and environmental (SH+E) professionals committed to helping ensure that every occupational setting is safe, healthy and protected from environmental risks. Our members are located in every state and can be found in every industry leading SH+E initiatives that help make sure workers are able to go home from their jobs safe and healthy each day.
The ability of our members to carry out these responsibilities is, without doubt, supported and enhanced by the work of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). Therefore, on behalf of our members, ASSE fully supports and urges the Subcommittee to support the CSB's FY 2005 budget request of $9.45 million and an increase in its emergency reserve fund to $847,000.
The risks posed by mishandled, misunderstood chemicals and chemical processes may be the most worrisome responsibility our members deal with in almost every workplace. Our members know that a single misstep in handling certain chemicals can cause deaths, extensive injuries, and shut down a worksite for long periods of time, even close a business. Based on that understanding, ASSE encouraged the establishment of the CSB as a means of providing necessary studied insight into chemical disasters so mistakes and accidents could be turned into opportunities to learn ways to prevent them from happening again. CSB fulfills the wisdom learned from the too often ignored adage that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat the mistakes of history.
ASSE is most encouraged that, under its current leadership, CSB is becoming the aggressive proponent of chemical safety that we always hoped it would be. It has hired dedicated, knowledgeable people from the highest levels of professional safety and health corporate management to staff its Board. It has reached out to other sectors of government to establish its proper role in health and safety decision-making. It has reached out to other stakeholders in chemical safety like ASSE to help spread the valuable lessons its work provides. It has provided welcome leadership in addressing long-standing issues like reactive chemicals that are not given to simple solutions yet need solutions, nonetheless. The CSB is living up to the confidence Congress has placed in it over the years, and continued advancement of that commitment to CSB should be assured.
While we have confidence in the various specific budget justifications that CSB has made, and urge their acceptance, ASSE is particularly supportive of the increased funding items that will better enable CSB to communicate its findings and conclusions and support new prevention initiatives, including an increase in staff and the addition of a technical writer. While CSB has done an excellent job of reaching out to our members, this increased outreach is most important if the work of CSB is to have the impact on increased chemical safety that all stakeholders support.
ASSE urges funding at levels necessary for CSB to fulfill its uniquely important mission to protect help protect U.S. workers. Thank you for your consideration of ASSE's perspective. Respectfully, we request that this statement be included in the legislative record for the FY 2005 appropriations cycle.
James "Skipper" Kendrick, CSP
cc: The Honorable Alan B. Mollohan
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