February 9, 1999
The Honorable Christopher "Kit" Bond, Chairman
Senate Appropriations Committee
Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, HUD, and Independent Agencies
C/O Ms. Julie Dammann, Legislative Director
SR-274 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-2503
APPROPRIATIONS FOR CHEMICAL SAFETY BOARD
Dear Chairman Bond:
The purpose of this letter from the American Society of Safety Engineers
(ASSE) is to offer our insight on the need for increased appropriations
to support the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB).
Even though your office and ASSE have enjoyed a beneficial relationship
on past safety and health issues we would like to offer a quick history
of the Society.
The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), is the oldest and largest
Society of Safety Professionals in the world. Founded in 1911, ASSE represents
in excess of 32,000 dedicated safety professionals. Included in this membership
are Certified Safety Professionals, Professional Engineers, ergonomists,
academicians, fire protection engineers, system safety experts, industrial
hygienists, physicians, occupational nurses, and an impressive collection
of other disciplines, skills, and backgrounds. We pride ourselves on our
dedication to excellence, expertise, and commitment to the protection
of people, property, and environment on a world-wide basis.
ASSE serves as Secretariat of seven (7) American National Standards
Institute Committees (ANSI) developing safety and health standards which
are used by private sector organizations as well as state/Federal governmental
agencies such as MSHA, OSHA, etc... ASSE members also sit on over forty
(40) additional standards development committees and the Society sponsors
educational sessions on standards development. The Society also has eleven
(11) technical divisions consisting of: Construction, Consultants, Engineering,
Environmental, Health Care, International, Management, Public Sector,
Risk Management and Insurance, Mining, and Transportation. The ASSE members
included in these divisions are leaders in their field with the knowledge
and expertise needed to move safety and health forward on a global level.
SOCIETY SUPPORT FOR SAFETY AND HEALTH AGENCIES
ASSE supports federal safety, health, and environmental agencies such
as EPA, NIOSH, OSHA, MSHA, and the newly established Chemical Safety and
Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) since these organizations help maintain
a national focus on the importance of occupational safety and health.
Accordingly, after reviewing the proposed administration budget numbers
for the CSB we put forth the following position:
|The administration's proposed budget for the CSB
is far below the expectations of this country's safety professionals,
and we are very concerned this shortfall is a serious obstacle in
preventing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities due to chemical incidents
and releases. The Administration budget request of $7.5 million for
chemical safety does not say much to the public sector's commitment
in maintaining a national focus on the importance of occupational
safety and health. We call on you to ensure that this new agency is
funded in a manner which allows the CSB to meet its key objectives
which are based on congressional mandates. Under the current budget
scenario we see this as not possible, thus, leaving the American worker
and general public open to potentially serious or catastrophic harm.
We point to the following key points of consideration for CSB appropriations:
- CSB has already initiated nine investigations and 21 Reviews of Chemical
Incidents. ASSE perceives these actions as an important consideration
since the agency is maintaining a significant level of activity with
inadequate funding. This indicates to us that the agency is a well run
organization from both private and public sector perspectives.
- With limited funding the CSB developed a basic infrastructure for
operations which is consistent with its Congressional mandate.
- The CSB implemented a business plan which enables it to meet the legal
requirements established under the enabling legislation.
- CSB has made extraordinary attempts to include key public and private
stakeholders, such as professional safety and health organizations,
organized labor, industry and commercial representation, administration
officials, and members of Congress.
- The CSB is the first National Repository of Chemical Safety Information
and has established the First Consolidated Statistical Database.
We point out that the CSB operated with $4 million for nine (9) months in
1997 and $6.5 million in 1998. The administration's current budget request
is $7.5 million for CSB, which is woefully inadequate for the agency to
achieve its basic chemical safety goals. Our request is that your committee
appropriate an additional $5 million to increase the CSB budget for a total
of $12.5 million. This increase will enable the United States to guide occupational
safety and health investigations and research involving chemicals over the
next decade and enhance worker protection in an efficient/effective manner.
The fact is that the CSB is an investment in the future of chemical safety
in the United States. If past performance is any indicator, ASSE maintains
the dividends for the American public have been significant. In this time
of government reinvention, it is crucial that the activities of cost effective
agencies such as the CSB not be curtailed. ASSE is concerned that protecting
Americans from injury, illness, and fatalities due to chemical incidents
is worth only $7.5 million. We implore you to ensure that the CSB receives
a total of $12.5 million in appropriations. The safety and health of the
American public could be resting in the hands of you and your esteemed
We thank you for your attention to this matter. If the Society can be
of any further assistance on this matter please feel free to contact the
Society at 847/699-2929.
Fred F. Fleming, CSP, OHST
Society President 1998-1999
Copy To: Members, Senate Subcommittee/Independent Agencies
Apostolou, Majority Staff
Givens, Minority Staff
Contact list (887)
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