BP Products North America – the England-based oil company – and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reached an agreement on July 12 about what the company owes for penalties it accrued during the recovery process after a fatal explosion it suffered at its Texas City refinery in 2005.
OSHA cited BP in September 2005 with $21 million after an explosion at its Texas City refinery killed 15 workers in March of that year. Part of the 2005 deal was that the oil company had to identify and correct any violations within a certain time period.
In a 2009 follow-up to the 2005 ruling, OSHA found that the company had not yet corrected many of its citations, causing the organization to issue nearly 270 failure-to-abate notices and accruing more than $50 million in citations. In addition, OSHA also fined BP in 2009 for 439 separate willful violations. These infractions included widely industry-accepted engineering practices for pressure relief safety systems and caused BP to garner roughly $30.7 million in penalties.
The agreement that was reached on July 12, 2012, reduces the 2009 penalties to $13,027,000 for 409 of the 439 citations that were issued against them. BP also has until December 31, 2012 to correct their violations through the procedures established under the 2010 agreement.
"Protecting workers and saving lives is the ultimate goal of this agreement," said secretary of labor at OSHA Hilda Solis. "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."
Clearly, BP may need to invest in some online OSHA training software for its current and future employees to ensure the company doesn't suffer from any more costly citations.
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