Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Reader Comment – CSB Hiring Problems

Earlier today, Rosearray published a comment to yesterday’s “Short Takes” post. As is usual with Richard’s comments, he provides some interesting observations about problems at the Chemical Safety Board. This time he is providing some background information about the problems the CSB has experienced with hiring chemical accident investigators. Richards comments should be read closely by anyone that is concerned about the problems at the CSB.

In a larger sense, however, Richard is describing problems in the hiring process throughout the Federal government. Anyone who has tried to apply for a job on USAJOBS.com, should be able to recognize, from the applicant’s point of view, the problems that Richard is describing. In trying to rationalize the application process, the government (and most large companies in my experience) tries to strictly describe the duties and responsibilities of the jobs being offered and the qualifications necessary to fulfill those duties. Unfortunately, few jobs can be categorized that closely without excluding a large universe of qualified individuals.

For jobs like this, the problem is exacerbated by the fact that a chemical accident investigator, particularly a great investigator, is going to have such a wide spread knowledge base to be able to recognize and understand all of the subtle nuances of a wide range of accidents in an ever expanding universe of chemical facilities, that the job description crafters would never be able to adequately characterize the experience that would lead to that scope of knowledge.

I am not sure how the CSB is going to overcome this issue (beyond the suggestion of re-hiring investigators that quit in disgust at some of the political games that have bothered the CSB over the years), but identifying the problem is surely the first step in finding a solution.

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