Action to enforce legal requirements that the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and Hazard Investigation be officially notified of all accidental chemical releases nationwide has been taken by the agency’s board members.

A press release announcing the board action was released Wednesday by Kristen Kulinowski, the board's interim executive.

“The rule requires prompt reports to the CSB from owners or operators of facilities that experience an accidental release of a regulated substance or extremely hazardous chemical that results in a death, serious injury or substantial property damage.”

This reporting is required under the CSB's enabling legislation but a final rule on that reporting has never been approved by the CSB directors in its 20-year history, the press release states. Last year, a court ordered the CSB to finalize such a rule.

“The CSB anticipates that these reports will provide the agency with key information important to CSB in making prompt deployment decisions,” Kulinowski said.

The CSB is an independent, non-regulatory federal agency that conducts independent investigations into major industrial accidents. The agency's board members are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.

At present, the agency is conducting investigations into TPC Group terminal fire in Port Neches, Texas, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery fire in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the Intercontinental Terminal Company tank fire in Deer Park, Texas, among others. 

The official version of the new rule should be published early next week in the Federal Register, the press release states.