An agreement earlier this month between OSHA and the executives of BP has ensured that the oil giant will pay for the safety violations that led to the 2005 Texas City explosion and continued thereafter. BP will pay the full fine of $50.6 million, after OSHA adjusted the figure to erase duplicate fines.
The most promising parts of the new deal are the regulatory measures that BP must now live under, which include an investment of $500 million into the safety infrastructure of the facility.
More details of the new safety measures from the OSHA press release:
Under the agreement, BP immediately will begin performing safety reviews of the refinery equipment according to set schedules and make permanent corrections. The agreement also identifies many items in need of immediate attention; the company has agreed to address those concerns quickly and to hire independent experts to monitor its efforts. Additionally, the agreement provides an unprecedented level of oversight of BP’s safety program including regular meetings with OSHA, frequent site inspections and the submission of quarterly reports for the agency’s review. Finally, in a step toward workplace safety corporate-wide, BP agrees to establish a liaison between its North American and London boards of directors and OSHA, which will allow the agency to raise compliance problems at the highest level.
Workers must never be subject to a timeline like this again:
Timeline of Events Related to the BPTCR Monitoring Inspection (from OSHA)
- March 23, 2005 - Isomerization Unit explosion; 15 workers killed, at least 170 injured.
- June 2005 - Residual Hydrotreater Unit explosion and fire.
- September 22, 2005 - Settlement Agreement with OSHA signed.
- June 2006 - Settlement Agreement's independent auditor study and recommendations. Included in the study are recommendations to BP-TCR to implement the ISA S84.00.01 Standard for safety-instrumented-systems.
- July 22, 2006 - an employee of a contractor was fatally injured when he was crushed between a scissor lift and a pipe rack at BP-TCR.
- January 2007 - Baker Report issued which identified numerous systemic process safety issues at BP U.S. refineries, including BP-TCR
- March 2007 - CSB BP-TCR investigation report issued
- June 5, 2007 - BP-TCR experienced a fatality when an employee of a contractor was electrocuted while working on a light circuit in a process area.
- June 7, 2007 - OSHA launches its National Emphasis Program on Refineries, CPL 03-00-004 Petroleum Refinery Process Safety Management NEP.
- Jan. 14, 2008 - The top head blew off a pressure vessel resulting in the death of a BP employee. BP was issued four serious citations related to PSM.
- October 9, 2008 - A contract employee was fatally injured at BPTCR when, after being struck by a front end loader, the employee was pinned on the ground between a guard rail and the bucket of the loader.
- December 2008 - 3rd Party PSM Consultant report on audit of relief valve study methodology.
- September 22, 2009 - The deadline for BP to complete abatement outlined in the 2005 Settlement Agreement.
- October 30, 2009 - OSHA issues Notification of Failure to Abate and willful citations with proposed penalties of $87,430,000.
- August 12, 2010 - OSHA reaches agreement with BP for it to pay the entire $50.6 million penalty for Failure to Abate violations