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Chemical Safety Board: The Business Case for Safety

Thursday, April 20, 2017

CSB_Business Case For SafetyPhoto: CSB/BusinessCaseforSafetyPDF


The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) recently released a document, "Business Case for Safety", summarizing the investigations and costs of four major accidents. For each accident, the document summarizes what happened, the number of casualties and injuries, estimated costs, and key findings and recommendations.

The four major accidents disccused, and their costs:

Explosion at Fertilizer Storage Facility (West, Texas) | April 17, 2013

  • 15 Fatalities and 260+injuries
  • $230 million in insurance-related losses
  • $1 million insurance policy held by West Fertilizer Company

Refinery Explosion (Richmond, California) | August 6, 2012

  • 15,000 people sought medical treatment
  • $2 million in fines and restitution
  • $447 million in increased gas prices passed onto California Consumers

Deepwater Horizon/Macondo Well Blowout (Gulf of Mexico) | April 20,2010

  • 11 workers killed and 17 workers injured
  • $21 billion in settlements
  • $13 billion in economic and medical claims
  • 4 million barrels of oil spilled

Texas City Refinery Explosion (Texas City, Texas) | March 23, 2005

  • 15 workers killed and 180 people injured
  • $1.5 billion in financial losses

"The Business Case for Safety" was published approximately 1 month after a budget proposal was released by President Donald Trump that would eliminate the CSB. In conclusion, the document makes a case for why the CSB is critical to chemical safety, stating, "If the CSB’s many safety lessons prevented at least one catastrophic incident, the money saved by preventing damage to the facility and surrounding community, avoiding legal settlements, and saving human lives far outweighs the agency’s $11 million annual budget.  Safety and prosperity are compatible. Strong safety programs are critical for the economic success of the chemical and petrochemical industries.  The CSB’s continued collaboration with industry, regulators, standards setting bodies and other professional organizations proves that the CSB has a vital role in driving critical chemical safety change in the United States."

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