The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) recently marked its 25th anniversary. Established by the Clean Act Amendments of 1990, the CSB began operations on January 4, 1998.

CSB Chairperson Steve Owens said, “The CSB is a small agency, but it has a very big – and very important – mission: to help ensure that chemical facilities are operated safely and that communities, workers and the environment are protected from chemical disasters. The CSB has made a huge difference over the last 25 years, but it has faced a number of challenges recently, including a long-standing backlog in investigations reports. We are working hard to rebuild and revitalize the CSB, and we are reducing the report backlog.”

Owens and Board Member Sylvia Johnson joined the CSB in February 2022. Owens was named the CSB’s Interim Executive in late July after the former CSB chair resigned. At the same time, he was nominated by President Biden to be the new CSB chairperson.

The CSB completed and issued six investigations reports over a five-month period at the end of 2022. The six reports are:

  • Loy Lange Box Company pressure vessel explosion in St. Louis, Mo. (final report released July 29, 2022)
  • Sunoco Logistics Partners flash fire (final report released September 28, 2022)
  • Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery fire and explosion in Philadelphia, Pa. (final report released October 12, 2022)
  • TPC Group chemical plant explosions and fire in Port Neches, Texas (final report released December 19, 2022)
  • Kuraray America release and fire in Pasadena, Texas (final report released December 21, 2022)
  • Husky Energy Refinery explosion and fire in Superior, Wis. (final report released December 29, 2022)

Along with completing and releasing the six final investigation reports, the CSB also issued updates on five other investigations during the last four months of 2022. The agency previously had stopped providing such updates during 2021.