The lack of support for the CSB at other investigative agencies involves multiple factors. Here are a few:
- A CSB deployment to an incident has become to be regarded as a "big deal", with periodic news conferences, enhanced media coverage, etc., leading to a certain amount of professional resentment.
- CSB investigations often result in recommendations for regulatory changes at other agencies, some of which are difficult to accomplish, or (if done) only partially fulfill the CSB recommendation; OSHA & EPA are typical "whipping boys" for this, so from their perspective, they being BLAMED for this failure by the CSB..
- Any credit that is given to other investigative agencies in CSB investigation reports, public meetings, or news conferences, is typically faint & muted, in contrast with CSB criticisms of these agencies.
As a result of all this, cooperation of other agencies with CSB investigations appears to me to be lower than whale do-do. What to do about this? I would suggest starting with backing off the criticism a bit, and (most of all) giving public credit REPEATEDLY for ANY help provided by other investigative agencies. Why not?
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------ Original Message ------
From: Ralph Stuart
Sent: September 2, 2016 at 8:13 AM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] C&EN article: The uneven world of chemical accident investigation
> > My personal experience is that I have yet to encounter any fans of the CSB at other federal agencies.
That's an interesting aspect of the CSB challenge and I think relates to the nature of its mission, i.e. not enforcement, but rather identification of system issues related to the incident in the largest sense. This means that it often addresses issues that other federal agencies can't due to their limited jurisdictions or enforcement mandates. This creates a "safety culture" that distinctly different than the one that CSB tries to model (i.e. learning rather than blaming). I've seen the same challenge arise in bureaucracies that I've worked in and with. I guess that's one reason that we have job security ;).
Ralph Stuart, CIH
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