OSHA proposed a record-breaking $87 million in penalties for BP’s alleged failure to correct serious health and safety standards at its Texas City, Texas, refinery, the location a fatal 2005 explosion that killed 15 workers and injured more than 170.
Of the proposed penalties, $56.7 million is attributed to an alleged 270 failures for BP to comply fully with the 2005 OSHA Settlement Agreement reached after the refinery explosion. That matter presently is before the Occupational Health & Safety Review Commission, a body that is independent of OSHA.
“We are disappointed that OSHA took this action in advance of the full consideration of the Review Commission,” said Texas City Refinery Manager Keith Casey. “We continue to believe we are in full compliance with the settlement agreement, and we look forward to demonstrating that before the review commission. While we strongly disagree with OSHA’s conclusions, we will continue to work with the agency to resolve our differences.”
In addition, OSHA also cited BP $30.7 million for 439 new willful violations.
BP added that from the outset, the company has cooperated with OSHA in the agency’s review of the company’s Texas City operations and has considered the process a key input to the refinery’s compliance and safety programs.
“We believe our efforts at the Texas City refinery to improve process safety performance have been among the most strenuous and comprehensive that the refining industry has ever seen,” Casey said. “We remain committed to further enhancing our safety and compliance systems and achieving our goal of becoming an industry leader in process safety.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, released a statement saying the proposed penalties show “OSHA is taking the agency’s enforcement responsibilities seriously.”
“These citations are deeply disturbing given earlier commitments to improve conditions after the 2005 tragedy that caused massive death and injury at the Texas City, Texas, refinery. I commend OSHA for taking actions to prevent another devastating explosion,” Miller said.