The Senate provided a very welcome surprise this week by approving the nomination of Katherine Lemos to the Chemical Safety Board (CSB). The move to approve Lemos follows shortly after a Senate hearing earlier this year held by Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper underscoring the important contributions the Board makes to enhancing safety.
During the hearing, ACC’s Chris Jahn explained that “The CSB has the important job of independently investigating major accidents and making recommendations. The CSB’s findings are very influential and a catalyst for safety improvements.”
Jahn also cautioned that the CSB should not be forced to operate with just one Board member and urged Congress and the White House to fill the open positions with people who can help the CSB continue to fulfill its mission. While the Senate’s action avoids that scenario, three other Board positions remain unfilled.
That is why we urge the Administration to nominate additional well-qualified industry and process safety experts to serve on the Board. And, we ask the Senate to confirm those nominees as soon as possible.
While Lemos has not worked directly in the chemical industry, her experience as an accident investigator at the National Transportation Safety Board is very relevant to her new leadership role in conducting CSB investigations and developing recommendations to help prevent or mitigate major accidents.
ACC applauds the Senate for confirming Lemos and we look forward to working with her to advance chemical safety.