Global Processing

OSHA issues record $87 million fine to BP

November 2, 2009

The Associated Press reports that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a record $87 million fine against oil giant BP PLC for failing to correct safety hazards after a 2005 explosion which killed 15 workers and injured 170 at its Texas City refinery. The fine, which is the largest in OSHA''s history, comes after a six-month inspection that revealed hundreds of violations of an agreement to repair hazards at the refinery dating back to 2005. OSHA said the company also committed hundreds of new violations at the refinery by failing to follow industry controls on pressure relief safety systems and other precautions. BP spokesman Robert Wine said the company believed it was in "full compliance" with the settlement agreement, which included requirements that BP change working practices to improve safety, and it would demonstrate that to OSHA. The company will have 15 days to either agree to pay the penalties and take corrective action, or contest the fines through a hearing process. OSHA officials found 270 violations totaling $56.7 million in penalties for BP''s failure to take corrective action as required by terms of the 2005 settlement agreement with OSHA. Agency inspectors also identified 439 new willful violations totaling $30.7 million in penalties for failure to repair pressure release safety devices. OSHA officials said the 2005 explosion was caused by defective pressure relief systems.