CSB develops policy on employee participation in investigations

Published:  08 March, 2012

The US Chemical Safety Board’s policy will enhance the vital role played by plant workers in determining root causes of incidents and promoting facility safety.

The policy, which was approved by a unanimous 3-0 vote of the Board on February 27, follows a roundtable involving accident victims, family members, and worker representatives the CSB convened in 2011.

The new policy implements a key provision of the CSB enabling statute at 42 U.S.C. § 7412(r)(6)(L), which provides that employees and their representatives have similar rights in CSB accident investigations as they do during OSHA inspections under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

CSB Chairperson Dr. Rafael Moure-Eraso said, “The new employee participation guidance is an important milestone for the CSB, as we continue to strengthen our investigative processes. The CSB has already been following a number of the elements of the policy in past and ongoing investigations, but the new policy will assure uniformity and increased employee participation at sites across the country.”

The ten key elements of the new policy include:

(1) If the CSB initiates an investigation at a union-represented site, the CSB will promptly identify and notify facility unions of its plans to investigate. At non-union sites, the CSB will seek to identify other employee representatives, such as employee members of any established Health and Safety Committee, or other employee representatives, if possible.

(2) The CSB will seek participation by contract employees and their representatives, similar to facility employees.

(3) The CSB will establish direct, face-to-face communications with employee representatives from the outset of its investigations.

(4) The CSB will take measures to avoid interference by any party with the proper exercise of employee participation.

(5) CSB investigators will allow and encourage employee representatives to accompany the CSB team during site inspections and tours. Such participation is often critical for understanding complex processes and learning of important safety concerns and hazards.

(6) Where necessary to obtain information, CSB investigators will conduct separate meetings with employee representatives.

(7) During CSB interviews, any non-supervisory employee may be accompanied by another non-supervisory employee, a personal attorney, or a family member as described in 40 CFR 1610.

(8) The CSB will provide employee representatives with the opportunity to review and comment upon evidence and equipment testing protocols and to observe testing, similar to the opportunities for companies and other parties. Employee representatives will also have access to any test results, to an extent equivalent to other parties.

(9) The CSB will provide employee representatives with the opportunity to review and comment on the factual accuracy of CSB reports, recommendations, and interim statements of findings prior to public release, to a degree equivalent to any opportunities provided to company representatives.

(10) The CSB will monitor the implementation of the policy to ensure that participation by facility employees and representatives in CSB investigations does not result in prohibited whistleblower retaliation under 42 USC § 7622. Documented instances of retaliation will be referred to appropriate federal enforcement agencies.

“Over the next few months, the CSB plans to develop a brochure for employees as well as a new web page summarizing the new policy,” Dr. Moure-Eraso said. “Our goal is effective employee participation from the first day of an investigation right through to our final report.  No one knows more about the day-to-day operations at a plant than the workers who go there every day in the hope of safely earning a living.  We cannot fully succeed in our mission without their help.”

  • Operation Florian

Sign up: eMagazine & eNewsletter

The latest issues in your inbox.

Company Profiles

Renka´s Fire Engine No. 1

Firefighting, fast, safe, everywhere. Michael Renka GmbH, based in Germany, is a manufacturer of firefighting vehicles, pumps and rescue equipment.

Waterax - We move water

Trusted by wildland firefighters around the world, WATERAX sets the industry standard by developing innovative, portable fire pumps and water-handling equipment designed to withstand demanding applications and rugged environments.

Big Water Flow for Industrial and Municipal Firefighting Applications

Protecting the lives of the public and firefighters while limiting the structural damage caused in large scale fires is our primary mission

We are committed to improving lives and doing business in the right way

We have a unique mix of capability and culture that we refer to as 3M Science and we strive to develop products that improve people’s daily lives in a multitude of ways.

HazSim - Bringing situational HazMat training to life

HazSim, LLC provides innovative simulation training to ensure your team works safely and effectively. HazSim Pro simulation equipment is in use by hundreds of fire departments, training schools, industrial fire teams, and private trainers across the US, Canada and further afield as well as the US Army.

The ultimate in innovation, quality and service

For 60 years Lehavot has been delivering the world’s most advanced fire detection and suppression automatic systems

Advancing rescue technology

The specialist supplier of quality PPE and Rescue Equipment to Emergency Services.

Revolutionizing fire fighting foam technology

The one-stop resource for fire fighting foam concentrates and custom-designed foam suppression systems hardware.

Trust the best, let us be your foam solution

AUXQUIMIA is a Spanish company whose main activity is the design, manufacture and commercialization of firefighting foam concentrates.

Williams Fire & Hazard Control offers a full line of specialized fire response equipment for oil and gas platforms

From storage tanks and pipeline emergencies to offshore platforms and vessels at sea, Williams' response personnel and specialized equipment quickly address adverse fire emergencies.

The leader in truck-mounted hydraulic platforms

Our mission is to provide the best and the safest solution to professionals that work at height.

If you want quality, you want Zico

Since its inception Ziamatic Corp has provided the men and women of the fire service with products designed to make their jobs safer and easier.

The independent alternative

Dafo Fomtec AB is a privately owned company with head office in Stockholm Sweden and manufacturing in Helsingborg in the south of Sweden.