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Statement from Dr. Katherine Lemos, New Chairperson and CEO of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board

U.S. Chemical Safety Board, April 23, 2020

BEGIN STATEMENT

Today I begin my term as Chairperson and CEO of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. I am grateful to President Trump and the U.S. Senate for the confidence they have placed in me to lead this important agency. Over the next five years, I look forward to working with a diverse, skilled and motivated team of investigators, legal experts, public and government affairs specialists, and business staff to advance safety across the chemical industry.

The mission of the CSB is to "drive chemical safety change through independent investigation to protect people and the environment." As I begin my term, this mission is more important than ever. Our nation faces unprecedented social and economic challenges as we respond to the outbreak of Covid-19. As many Americans are staying home, our country’s chemical industry workers are still supporting the continued operations of plants, refineries, oil rigs, and other workplaces that are essential to keep the nation running. At this critical moment, it is vital to ensure their safety, and to protect the safety and health of our country’s entire chemical industry, and the important role it plays in our economy. Maintaining integrity in our chemical production, process, handling, and storage is fundamental to the well-being of our nation.

As the country’s unique and independent federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents, the CSB is in a key position to advance those goals. We make targeted, actionable recommendations that improve the safety and health of the chemical industry, saving the lives of workers as well as those in the immediate community. As Chairperson, I come to the CSB after a long career in safety, am deeply committed to the agency’s mission, and am equally committed to working to support each employee and our critical and valued stakeholders and colleague investigative agencies, as we work together as a team to accomplish the mission."

In my career, I’ve been privileged to work as a safety leader across stakeholder communities, permitting an enterprise level understanding of safety. As an academic, I studied new technology and decision-making in high-risk and complex environments, and I taught on the topics of accident investigation, human factors engineering and safety management systems.

As a career government employee for the NTSB, I first served as an accident investigator on the front lines of aviation safety. I also served as Special Assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Board, supporting review and critical decisions on investigations and recommendations across transportation modes.

As a career government employee for the FAA, I served as the regulator in analyzing, developing, and implementing policy, as well as monitoring the outcomes.

And in industry, I was an executive charged with balancing competing pressures for multiple programs, developing and delivering quality products and systems that perform as promised, on schedule, within budget – and above all, safely.

Now, as Chairperson of the US Chemical Safety Board, I will lead the agency by example and hold myself and each employee accountable to the American public in delivering objective, thorough, and timely investigative reports and recommendations that will improve the operation of the chemical industry.

With a small but dedicated staff, I am certain we will continue to do the great work that we are known for, even at this challenging moment for our nation. I am proud to lead the CSB and move the agency forward during this crucial time.

END STATEMENT


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