BP paying more than $13M for OSHA violations

Michael P. Tremoglie Jul. 16, 2012, 10:26am


WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - BP Products North America will pay $13,027,000 in penalties, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Thursday.

The fine is for 409 of the 439 citations issued by the agency in October 2009 for "willful violations" of OSHA's process safety management standard at BP's refinery in Texas City, Texas.

"Protecting workers and saving lives is the ultimate goal of this agreement," Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said. "For the workers at BP's Texas City refinery, this settlement will help establish a culture of safety. The workers who help keep our nation's oil and gas industries running deserve to go to work each day without fear of losing their lives."

OSHA previously cited BP for a then-record $21 million in September 2005 as a result of a March 2005 explosion at its Texas City refinery that killed 15 workers. BP entered into an agreement with OSHA for safety procedures.

A 2009 follow-up investigation to evaluate BP's performance determined that the company had failed to correct a number of items, which led OSHA to issue 270 failure-to-abate notices. BP agreed to pay a penalty of $50.6 million to resolve those notices in a 2010 settlement.

OSHA also cited BP for 439 willful violations of the agency's PSM standard, including failing to follow industry-accepted engineering practices for pressure relief safety systems. Those citations carried total proposed penalties of $30.7 million.

All violations covered in this settlement have been corrected or will be corrected by Dec. 31 using the 2010 procedures. BP is required to hire independent experts to monitor BP's efforts and obligated the company to allocate $500 million to ensure safety at the Texas City refinery.

"Make no mistake, the scope of this agreement should send a clear signal that OSHA is committed to ensuring BP takes seriously the safety and health of America's most important natural resource - its workers," Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels said.

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