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The Chemical Safety Board's role in preventing accidents


Construction and manufacturing worksites in Illinois are usually hazardous work zones. Machinery, ladders and the usage of dangerous materials and tools make these workspaces in big cities like Chicago potential death spots. In order to avert Chicago work-related deaths, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board is responsible for conducting investigations after the industrial chemical accidents that sometimes happen at construction sites. The board has its headquarters in Washington, DC and the U.S. President appoints the board members, who then are confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

The CSB carries out investigations to find the root cause of accidents in industrial zones. A root cause investigation also provides deficiencies in worksite safety systems that may have instigated the accident and identifies any factor that could have averted the accident, such as human errors, failure of equipment or any other hazard. Although the board does not issue a fine, it does make recommendations to agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which do have the power to issue fines for unsafe worksites. The purpose of setting up this board was to prevent industrial chemical accidents.

The board is made of up of mechanical and chemical engineers and other specialists who have experience in the public and private sectors. Investigators hired by the board have decades of experience in handling chemical accidents, including those that happen on construction sites. Investigators go through all evidence, consult with board members and review the findings before giving recommendations.

As a result, completing the process of investigating accidents, including construction accidents, may take a long time, even six months to a year. A draft report is first given to the board members. The reports are adopted by conducting a written vote of the board members or during a meeting near the construction accident site. The board conducts investigations into the causes of hazardous chemical accidents, as well.

Source: U.S. Chemical Safety Board, "About the CSB," accessed May 12, 2015

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