ASSE Applauds President Obama’s Order on Chemical Facility Safety

ASSE applauds U.S. President Barack Obama’s Executive Order to improve federal agency coordination of U.S. chemical facility safety and security oversight. A statement supporting the Executive Order was released from ASSE President Kathy A. Seabrook, CSP, CMIOSH, EurOSHM, on Aug. 5, 2013.

The Executive Order aims to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities by requiring OSHA, EPA, Department of Labor, Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security to lead an effort to improve coordination regarding safety within a specified time period. The Order also directs the federal government to improve operational coordination with state and local partners, collaborate with stakeholders to identify best practices and modernize existing policies, regulations and standards.

CSB and other federal investigative agencies have often struggled to coordinate investigations of chemical facility explosions, and ASSE cites the “often overlapping and sometimes confusing layers of regulatory responsibility over facilities where potentially harmful chemicals are produced or stored” as problematic to the investigation process. Earlier this year, ASSE called on Congress to require this Administration to bring agencies together to address these and other investigative issues.

As these agencies collaborate to take action that will protect workers and the public from chemical explosions and other chemical facility incidents, ASSE and its members will work with each agency, employers and other stakeholders to advance those protections.