British oil giant BP PLC will pay a $50.6 million fine for failing to fix safety hazards at its Texas City, Texas, oil refinery after an explosion in 2005. BP will have to spend $500 million for safety improvements at the facility. BP also agreed to establish a liaison between its directors and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which enforces U.S. workplace-safety laws. OSHA said the arrangement was a first for the agency.
BP agreed to hold regular meetings with OSHA officials, allow frequent site inspections and submit quarterly reports for OSHA’s review. The agreement is said to represent an “unprecedented level of oversight of BP’s safety program.” BP and the Labor Department are still discussing how to resolve about $31 million of remaining fines proposed for subsequent violations found at the refinery, where 15 workers were killed in the explosion. This settlement resolves 270 of the 709 citations OSHA issued in October 2009.
OSHA also identified 439 new violations that led to additional penalties of nearly $31 million. Those are the penalties that are still under discussion. OSHA’s inspectors expressed anger that many of the problems identified during the investigation concerned pressure-relief systems—equipment whose failure had contributed to the 2005 blast. BP contested the citations and spent months negotiating with OSHA on the fines. BP and OSHA are now discussing settlement of the nearly $31 million in fines.
Remember, this is the same BP that is telling folks on the Gulf Coast to “trust” the company to “do the right thing” by them. I certainly don’t trust BP and neither should anybody who deals with them.
Source: Wall Street Journal
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