CSB delays evidence proposal deadline

The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) is extending the period for comment on a proposed rule that would require facilities that suffer an accident to ensure that the accident scene and relevant evidence found there is adequately protected from alteration.

The new deadline to file written comments is March 6, 2006, according to information published in the Federal Register.

Under the regulation, site control would remain the responsibility of the owner and/or operator of the affected facility. CSB would notify the owner and/or operator of a facility that the CSB intends to deploy investigators to the facility, and that relevant evidence must be preserved.

The board intends to establish the means by which it will preserve accident scenes/sites, and the evidence within those sites.

According to the information originally published, CSB recognizes that emergency response and mitigation activities will take precedence over the preservation of evidence and anticipates that most emergency response activities will be concluded prior to the issuance of a notice under this rule.

This rule is not intended to interfere in any manner with critical first response activities--the rescue of victims and necessary steps to address immediate public health and environmental concerns in accordance with controlling law.

In the event that an owner/operator anticipates changing or modifying the site or any evidence following the issuance of a notice, the owner/operator would be required to contact the CSB and, if advance notice to the CSB is not possible, to document the condition of the site.

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