The agency that investigates chemical accidents and makes safety recommendations remains short-staffed, threatening it “from efficiently and effectively driving chemical safety change through independent investigations to protect people and the environment,” a federal watchdog reported recently.

The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board has just two of its five members in place, and lacks enough staff to properly investigate incidents and issue reports, according to the inspector general for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees the chemical agency.

“This isn’t something that’s new for the agency,” said Debra Coyle McFadden, executive director of the New Jersey Work Environment Council. “This isn’t going to change overnight but I remain optimistic under new leadership that the agency can go in the right direction. But it’s going to take time.”

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