Chemical Safety Board Announces Deepwater Horizon Hearing

The board will release its preliminary findings during the July 23-24 hearing in Houston, and experts will discuss using leading and lagging indicators to improve process safety performance.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board announced it will hold a public hearing in Houston July 23-24 to accomplish several things in its continuing analysis of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. The board will release its preliminary findings about the case and will hear expert presentations on measuring process safety performance in high-hazard industries, including implementing leading and lagging indicators to manage process safety effectively.

The board's July 2 announcement said the expert panels will include government officials, industry executives, union representatives, and non-profit stakeholder groups from the United States, Norway, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Agency officials hope what they learn will help with this and future CSB investigations involving low-probability, high-consequence events.

Day one will focus on downstream refining and the petrochemical sector and will include a presentation by CSB staff on the American Petroleum Institute's Recommended Practice for Process Safety Performance Indicators for the Refining and Petrochemical Industries (ANSI/API RP 754), which resulted from a CSB recommendation after the March 2005 BP Texas City Refinery fire and explosion. OSHA issued a record fine in connection with the incident, and BP Products North American Inc. paid a $15 million penalty for Clean Air Act violations found during inspections after the explosion. (BP announced Feb. 1, 2011, that it intends to sell the Texas City Refinery by the end of 2012. Thus far, no sale has been disclosed.)

CSB said the hearing's second day will include a presentation by CSB staff on preliminary findings on the use of safety indicators and major accident prevention from the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Free and open to the public, the hearing will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 1200 Louisiana St.

"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," CSB Chairperson Rafael Moure-Eraso said.

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