Workplace Safety Violations Can Cause Serious Injuries
According to the Jere Beasley Report, U.S. regulators have fined British oil giant BP PLC $3 million, citing safety problems at its Toledo, Ohio, refinery. This came some four months after the government imposed a record penalty on the company over its refinery in Texas.
The fines show the tougher safety stance being taken by the Obama administration. BP is working to improve safety at its plants since a 2005 explosion at Texas City, Texas, that killed 15 people and injured 170. The U.S Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the Toledo refinery, which is jointly owned by BP and Canada’s Huskey Energy Inc., with 42 alleged willful violations and 20 alleged serious violations for exposing workers to safety hazards.
OSHA began an inspection of the Toledo facility last September to see if BP had complied with a settlement agreement reached after a previous check-in 2006. BP was found to be in compliance, but OSHA said it found other violations that weren’t covered by the original settlement.
Last October, OSHA hit BP with an $87 million fine, the largest in the agency’s history, for failing to correct safety problems identified after the 2005 explosion at Texas City. The agency cited 270 “notifications of failure to abate” and 239 new willful violations for failures to “follow industry-accepted controls on the pressure relief safety systems” – a citation that the recent action on Toledo echoed.
These citations occurred before April 20, 2010, BP offshore drilling rig explosion that killed 11 platform workers and injured 17 others. To date, the oil continues to spill into the ocean, at a rate of approximately anywhere between 5,000 and 100,000 barrels of crude oil every day.