Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Reader Comments – Missing CSB Investigation

My favorite CSB commentor, Rosearray, left a comment on my recent post about CSB’s chemical incident reporting data. He was not commenting on the actual content of the post, but about another CSB release of information that took place last week, their updated CSB incident reporting schedule to catch up on the backlog of incident reports. I relegated the announcement of that info to my Short Takes post on October 28th.

In any case, Rosearray again notes (see earlier comment here) that the CSB has not included the Bio-Lab thermal decomposition event in Conyers, GA on September 14th, 2020 (open investigation listing here) in the list of upcoming reports. He does offer an interesting possibility that CSB might be intending to combine the Conyers report with an earlier Bio-Lab incident report for a fire at their facility in Lake Charles, LA (open investigation listing here). While both incidents resulted in chlorine releases, one was a thermal decomposition event and the other was a chemical fire. I am not sure that I see an advantage in combining the reports.

I did a little bit deeper dig in my files and found that on October 7th, 2021, Katherine Lemos sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee about the backlog of ongoing investigation. In that letter, she listed four investigations that would be completed by “the end of Quarter 2 FY 2022” (which would have been by March 31st, 2022):

• Sunoco – Nederland, TX (8-16-16),

• Loy-Lange Box Company, St Louis, MO (4-3-17),

• Didion Milling – Cambria, WI (5-31-17), and

• Bio-Lab – Conyers, GA (9-1-20)

Now CSB has issued final reports on both the Sunoco and Loy-Lange incidents in September and July respectively (much later than promised). Both the Didion and Bio-Labs incidents are still listed as open. The Didion Milling report is currently expected in the second half of 2023 (a year and half from when it was promised to Congress) and is the last incident on the current publication list. Obviously, something was discovered that required additional investigative work. I suspect something similar may have occurred with the Bio-Labs investigation.

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