“The funds will allow the Chemical Safety Board to fill two new investigator positions and allow the board to focus on the completion of a significant backlog of open major accident investigations,” said CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso. “The CSB will expand its work to protect workers, the public and the environment from hazardous chemical releases by issuing quality reports with high-impact recommendations. And we continue our proven efforts at safety advocacy and video outreach that I believe are helping to save workers’ lives.”

In its annual budget justification for Congress, the board noted a number of recent successes, including the completion of reports on major accidents at the Bayer, DuPont and Hoeganaes companies as well as studies focused on laboratory safety and on protecting the public from oil production site hazards. The justification also cited progress made in closing open safety recommendations, such as the CSB’s call for ending the practice of gas blows for cleaning power plant piping and for prohibiting indoor purging of gas pipes at industrial and commercial facilities.

“Despite the unprecedented demands of the complex, ongoing investigations of the Macondo well blowout in the Gulf and the explosion at the Tesoro Anacortes refinery, our investigative backlog is already substantially reduced, having decreased from 22 open cases in mid-2010 to only 14 today,” said Moure-Eraso. “Within a year, we expect the backlog will be under better control than at any time in recent years, but to make further progress it is critical that the agency be able to hire more investigators.”

The budget proposal would allow for approximately 25 investigators.