The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has received the prestigious European Process Safety Centre (EPSC) Award 2010 for the CSB Safety Video series, EPSC officials announced on May 12. The award is given to acknowledge “progress toward a less-hazardous Europe” and is made to an individual or team which “has considerably advanced the theory or practice of process safety.”
It is the first time the Centre has given the award to an American entity, and only the second to an organization or individual outside of Europe.
CSB chairman John Bresland said, “The CSB is pleased and honored to be the recipient of this coveted award in recognition of our Safety Video program. We are proud of the videos and the fact that they are used to promote chemical process safety around the world. We are doubly honored to know we are the first organization in the United States to receive the EPSC award.
The EPSC was founded by the European Federation of Chemical Engineering and has a membership that includes leading chemical companies, manufacturers, contractors, consultants, and academic institutions, representing a significant part of the process safety community in Europe. As its website notes, the Centre is an industry-funded network which exists to provide an independent forum for the leadership and support of process safety within Europe.
CSB Safety Videos are sophisticated, fast-moving and in-depth examinations of major chemical accidents investigated by the CSB. They feature computer animations that depict the chain of events leading to explosions, fires, leaks, tragic loss of life and serious injury. They typically include commentary by CSB investigators, board members, outside experts, accident victims and eyewitnesses, threaded into dramatic and compelling narratives.
Dr. Daniel Horowitz, CSB director of congressional, public and board affairs, who oversees the production of the videos, said, “The EPSC Award is an exciting acknowledgement of our work in producing 17 safety videos since our first effort in 2005. We have distributed over 100,000 DVD sets of our videos around the world, and they have been viewed millions of times online. We have received thousands of messages praising the videos – from labor leaders, workers, safety training managers, company executives, trade associations, and other stakeholders across many industries. It is extremely rewarding to be cited by an organization representing all the major chemical process players in Europe, who state the videos are helping to advance the practice of process safety.”
Dr. Horowitz will accept the award during a presentation in Bruges, Belgium, in June of this year.
Last year’s winner of the EPSC Award was Francis Stoessel of the Swiss Institute for the Promotion of Safety and Security, for his work on the development of the criticality scale for chemical batch and semi-batch reactions. In 2008, the award was presented to Professor Andrew Hopkins of Australian National University for his writing on “learning from accidents” and particularly his published review of the BP Texas City Refinery accident of 2005, “Failure to Learn, the BP Texas City Refinery Disaster.” The CSB investigated that accident. Dr. Hopkins appeared in the CSB safety video, “Anatomy of a Disaster,” which detailed the causes of the tragedy.
The CSB is an independent federal agency charged with investigating serious 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 OSHA and EPA. Visit the CSB Web site at www.csb.gov. For more information, contact Hillary Cohen, CSB Public Affairs specialist, at 202-261-3601, or Sandy Gilmour, CSB Public Affairs, at 202-261-7614.