CSB to release preliminary findings into Gulf of Mexico explosion

Published:  03 July, 2012

CSB board members and staff will hear from experts on the importance of using effective safety indicators during two-day public hearing.

The US Chemical Safety Board today announces a public hearing to support its continued analysis of effective safety performance indicators and to release preliminary findings into the agency’s investigation of the Macondo well blowout, explosion and fire in the Gulf of Mexico.

The two-day hearing on July 23-24, 2012, in Houston, Texas, will feature presentations and discussions on measuring process safety performance in high hazard industries, including the development and implementation of leading and lagging indicators, for effective safety management.

The hearing’s two day agenda will include statements from several panels of experts, including government officials, industry executives, union representatives, and non-profit stakeholder groups from the US, Norway, the UK, 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 first day of the hearing 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 API RP 754 was an outcome of a 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 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 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 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.

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