The explosion occurred at the oil refinery when flammable hydrocarbons escaping from an octane processing tower sparked by a backfiring truck. The explosion rocked the area leaving a path of destruction that left 15 dead, 170 injured, and destroyed employee trailers as far as 300 yards away. It happened in 2005 at the BP oil refinery located in
A subsequent investigation revealed a tragic comedy of errors. A broken gauge failed to register the escaping hydrocarbons and the lack of a functioning flare system meant the volatile fumes weren’t being burned off as they escaped. Instead those fumes accumulated in an unhealthy fashion, looking for an alternate source of ignition.
It also didn’t help that some employees had been working continuous 12 hour shifts for 29 days or that the equipment was old and that safety had been compromised through excessive cost cutting measures. Basically, the employees were under pressure to keep the refinery humming, refining up to 475,000 barrels of crude oil a day.
As a result of those findings, the folks at OSHA fined the company $21.3 million in conjunction with a settlement agreement that required BP to fix the problems OSHA had identified.
In the nearly four years that have passed since that settlement, BP has been issued 271 notifications to correct hazards at the same refinery as well as another 439 notices of violation that are classified as “willful and egregious.” Having had enough, OSHA is reportedly slapping BP with another $87.4 million in fines for continued non-compliance today.
With all of the debt the nation has taken on for government bailouts it doesn’t take much imagination to realize that the government needs money. Besides raising various types of taxes, fines can provide a healthy source of income. It is therefore no surprise that
In light of all that, it’s worth your while to make sure your company’s compliance efforts are robust so the government doesn’t have grounds to come after your company.