In 2013, President Obama issued Executive Order 13650, “Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security” in response to a deadly explosion at a fertilizer distribution facility in West, Texas. As a result of the EO, a federal interagency Working Group comprised of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was created and tasked with reviewing and improving the existing regulatory framework.
The EO must continue to focus on directing federal agencies and stakeholders to take advantage of the full range of existing industry initiatives and regulatory programs and then work together to enhance safety and security.
members place safety and security at the core of their operations. We demonstrate their commitment to safety and security through
Responsible Care® our industry’s world-class environmental, health, safety and security performance initiative. And the Responsible Care program, which pushes companies to go beyond existing regulatory requirements, has delivered results—companies have reduced safety incidents by 53 percent since 1995 and have achieved a worker safety rate more than five times better than the entire U.S. manufacturing sector as a whole.
We have worked with other industry organizations to advise the interagency Working Group to pursue options that will improve coordination between agencies, information sharing and emergency planning. We are glad to see that the Working Group is making solid progress in these key areas and remains focused on the fundamental issues that the EO was created to address.
The Working Group should leverage industry performance improvement programs, such as our Responsible Care program, through increased regulatory recognition. Doing so would help improve how the federal government oversees the management of chemical safety and security.
- The EO must improve coordination among agencies that possess pertinent safety and security information and encourage collaboration with local first responders. The Working Group should look closely at existing information sharing programs, both regulatory and voluntary, and identify information sharing deficiencies raised by recent incidents and develop recommendations to address the deficiencies.
- To fulfill the EO’s directive to modernize regulations, any reviews of existing chemical safety and security programs must be transparent and include all stakeholders to ensure that risks are considered in the context of real-world factors.
- The Working Group should actively engage with industry associations and standard-making bodies to identify best practices that can help prevent future incidents.