The importance of using safety indicators at refineries will be a subject of discussion at a public hearing by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. The hearing will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on July 23 and 24, 2012, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana Street, in Houston, Texas.
The first day will focus on the downstream refining and petrochemical sector. It will feature a presentation by CSB staff on the Board’s evaluation of the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Recommended Practice for Process Safety Performance Indicators for the Refining and Petrochemical Industries (ANSI/API RP 754).
The creation of the recommended practice was an outcome of CSB’s recommendation resulting from the agency’s investigation into the BP Texas City refinery fire and explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 180 others. The CSB found that safety performance indicators for major accident prevention were not being used to drive safety improvements. The lessons learned from other high hazard industries with advanced indicator programs will also be discussed during the first day of the hearing.
The hearing will include statements from several panels of experts, including government officials, industry executives, union representatives, and non-profit stakeholder groups from the U.S., Norway, the United Kingdom and Australia. The participants will address the use of leading and lagging major accident indicators by companies, regulators and the workforce to improve safety performance. The Board hopes to use the testimony gathered from these presentations and discussions to inform its analysis of the Macondo incident and future CSB investigations involving low probability, high consequence events.
CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said “The CSB’s public hearing will provide a unique opportunity for safety experts from around the world to share information and discuss the most advanced work in the area of safety performance indicators for major accident prevention in high-hazard industries.”
The second day will include a presentation by CSB staff on preliminary findings on the use of safety indicators and major accident prevention from the Macondo incident. To date, the CSB has conducted numerous interviews and examined tens of thousands of documents from over 15 companies and parties in order to examine the use of safety indicators.
The hearing is free and open to the public. Members of the audience will have an opportunity to comment and to submit questions for the panel participants. For more information on the hearing, including previews of panelists’ statements and instructions for submitting a comment or question, visit the Board’s web site at csb.gov.
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.
The Board does not issue citations or fines but does make safety recommendations to plants, industry organizations, labor groups, and regulatory agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.