First, thanks for asking for input from CHAS members.. There are probably many members of NACHO you have also reached. I have read the internal memo to the CSB board of February 2014 as well as the article/report written by Dina Rasor several times. It’s difficult to offer relevant, intelligent input without knowing specific details. Not to sound goofy, but radio talk-show host, Paul Harvey, was reknown for his “the story behind the story” explanations and approach. But it sounds like some lead investigators or some board members are trying to do a thorough analysis of accidents and in a timely fashion, and want to focus on doing/recommending what is in the best interest of the health and safety of all folks concerned, based on sound scientific and safety principles and knowledge. But others are perhaps protecting, just guessing here, special interests or reputations of a smaller group, thinking that recommending appropriate corrective measures aren’t likely to occur or be implemented for financial reasons, or may embarrass some level of management and be counterproductive. From my perspective, the truth is that when you look at chemical accidents since the methyl isocyanate accident in Bhopal, India, the vast majority of them occurred due to lack of regular and timely service/maintenance inspections of facilities (infrastructure), i.e. storage tanks, pipelines, etc., OR neglecting the recommendations made by the safety inspectors during their routine inspections. In fact, CSB has put out a three DVD set, released in April 2013, stating as such, available to any interested party. It seems to suggest that the culture of middle management or corporate, or both, and its lack of communication or dialogue with those on the “front lines” must morph to fully understand these two observations and prevent future accidents. Perhaps, this is a mirror of what’s going on in the CSB, as well. There seems to be a lack of trust among various members perhaps due to insufficient sharing of information or dialogue. The credentials of the individual members involved seem solid and impeccable. They all should speak and understand the same language. As an aside, with all due respect to Ms. Vanessa Sutherland, as someone else has already observed, she unfortunately doesn’t appear to have the necessary scientific background required for this position. So appointing her as Chair may not promote a smooth dialogue, though she may have valuable legal expertise useful elsewhere on the Board. So, certainly examining how the NSTB works and emulating them sounds like the best first step.
Adjunct Professor, Community College of Rhode Island
Professor (Retired), Wentworth Institute of technology
Boston, MA 02115
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